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Census Worker Found With 'Fed' Written on Chest

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 10:01 p.m. ET

The Census Bureau employee found dead earlier this month had the word "fed" written on his chest, according to the coroner that examined him.

"He did have the word 'fed' on his chest," said Jim Trosper, the Clark County, Ky. coroner who examined the body of William Sparkman. The 51-year-old part-time Census Bureau field worker was found Sept. 12 in the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeastern Kentucky. A rope was wrapped around his neck and tied to a tree; his feet were in contact with the ground, according to the Kentucky state police and the FBI.

"Fed" was written on Sparkman's chest, but Trosper would not specify how nor elaborate further on his office's investigation.

Sparkman was naked, gagged and had his hands and feet bound with duct tape, according to an Ohio man who discovered the body two weeks ago and spoke Friday with the Associated Press.

“The only thing he had on was a pair of socks,” Jerry Weaver told the AP. “And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.

“And they even had duct tape around his neck. And they had like his identification tag on his neck. They had it duct-taped to the side of his neck, on the right side, almost on his right shoulder.” Weaver said he could not determine if the ID was from the Census Bureau, because he did not get close enough to read it.

Kentucky State Police refused to comment Friday on neither the coroner nor eyewitness statements, maintaining that any suggestion Sparkman was targeted because he worked for the federal government is speculation.

It is a federal crime to attack a federal worker during or because of the job.

The Census Bureau said Thursday it had no information suggesting Sparkman was targeted because of his government work. In response to questions about agency procedures, it distributed excerpts of a field worker training manual that include detailed instructions on what employees should do to keep safe.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 25, 2009; 1:53 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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A federal employee gets hanged in a conservative part of Kentucky the day after the leading Conservative firebrand calls for a rising up against the federal government's involvement in ...government? He has Fed scrawled on his chest.

The right wing Republicans have two choices: They could denounce the hanging and remind their followers that murdering federal employees is not a supportable activity or they can start screaming that the "liberal" media is attacking them and trying to blame them for the attack. Hmm?

They protest to much. The responsibility for the increasing uncivil behavior violence lays squarely at their feet.

Fear, Hatred, Distortion, Distraction and Division is all they have to offer.

Posted by: thebobbob | September 25, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Only in Kentucky...

Poor sap probably had the misfortune of knocking on some tin foil hat wearing, watering the tree of liberty "patriot" that through the generations of his family inbreeding, couldn't tell the difference between the FBI or some part time unarmed census worker knocking on his door.

Posted by: Nosh1 | September 25, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

to thebobbob -- You have got to be kiddin'!!! Sounds like a true left wing liberal Democrat - if it's wrong blame the Republicans!!! HAAHAHAHAHA!! yeah right -- why not ...............

Posted by: wolfmanjack14 | September 25, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to wait for the investigation.

Census workers aren't out collecting information yet. What could he have done to make someone mad?

The fellow was a leader, a Boy Scout type, in my mind that means he was used to running off at the mouth with the expectation that people would listen....

Let's see what more turns up about this. Certainly if someone killed him in the line of duty then they deserve the full force of the law. What do the facts indicate?

Posted by: RedBird27 | September 25, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse


Could this be a Hate Crime?

Is not within the realm of possibilities that Mr. Sparkman was gay/bi-sexual ?

As news reports have indicated, this gentleman was not on Census business at the time of his death in - of all places - a National Forest.

There is something odd about this entire tragedy - it reminds me - vaguely - of the Matthew Shepherd case.


Posted by: castleton1 | September 25, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

On the poor man.

Why doesn't law enforcement just confirm that "fed" chest story already since the cat's out of the bag. It's a really bad sign that they're not since it serves no purpose.

Posted by: Corey_NY | September 25, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

To the wolfmanjack14:

Sounds like you are proving bob's point.

Posted by: caldwell | September 25, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Blog Correction: CLAY County Coroner Jim Trosper. Clark County, Ky, is about 75 miles north.

Posted by: cjdickerson1 | September 25, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

RedBird27 and castleton1, the Census Bureau is *always* out there collecting data for a wide variety of studies. Once every 10 years, they do a major "count every head" as required by the Constitution. The Census Bureau has never confirmed nor denied that Mr. Sparkman was on the job on the day he died.

Sticking to the facts that are known rather than wild speculation might serve us all well, on this and any number of other subjects.

Posted by: edgerye | September 25, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

To RedBird27 -- There are any number of federal surveys that he could have been working on. Census Bureau interviewers are in the field year round on behalf of a number of Federal surveys, not just the decennial Census.

This is deeply troubling. My condolences to the family.

Posted by: mydog2 | September 25, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse



Thankyou for the info -


Posted by: castleton1 | September 25, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Out of respect for the people of Kentucky, and to dispel stereotypes, the perpetrator(s) may or may not have been inbred, as is the case in many other parts of the world also.

Posted by: 747captain | September 25, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Given the increasingly confrontational rhetoric coming from right wing voices in this country, it is easy to assume this worker was targetted for political reasons. But it would not be sound to jump to conclusions. For instance, I used to know a guy that consulted for the Nat'l Guard when patrolling the Daniel Boone Nat'l Forest for pot farms. Illegal growers are surely another class of individuals that might target & eliminate a 'fed' who's stumbled across their operation.

Posted by: bsimon1 | September 25, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks,

Not everything is about politics. Making wild unsubstantiated accusations helps no one. It does however detract from your assertion that the "other guy" is responsible for the "uncivil" behavior and hate!

Posted by: ddddff | September 25, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, where was Glenn Beck?

Posted by: cameracowboy | September 25, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

If the body was found September 12, why are we only hearing the news now?

Posted by: census2000 | September 25, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Probably will never be solved -- sort of like that M.J. Kopechne case.

Posted by: shoveit | September 25, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Kentucky, with two very conservative US Senators, is the strangest state in the US.
It contains a large population of anti-government, anti fed radicals many of whom are ex military and heavily into the cultivation of marijuana and the production of meth. It also has a lot of very religious "Jesus" freaks. I don't know if this "fed" was murdered or not but it certainly wouldn't be a surprise.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | September 25, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Bill Sparkman was a hard working American doing 3 Jobs to pay for his cancer treatment. Something he probably should not have had to be doing considering his illness but hard working poor people according to the GOP and their America hating Limbaugh sycophants are not allowed medical care.

The census job he was doing was to gather the information the nation needs for the nation to function.

The information needed for everything from defense and police and emergency services to road building and education. Information used by business and government alike.

He was murdered and displayed in the way too familiar to all those who fought the last Civil Rights war and that sickens every right thinking true American.

It was a lynching.

His ID card stuck to his head with gaffer tape.

His hands bound and stripped naked.

And reportedly the word "Fed" scrawled on his chest.

Americans know their history, and the strange fruit that hangs on southern trees.

Even to this day there is a disgusting habit practised by some who falsely call them selves patriots, of hanging a noose from a tree.

I fear Bill Sparkman may be the first casualty in a new civil rights movement. The fight for a right for life for the poor, hungry and sick of America.

If there are dark forces within the GOP bent on dividing America as a pretext to succession and a second Civil War they will find the United Stated of America is not sleeping.

Posted by: walker1 | September 26, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

When they catch the sickos that did this you can bet they have all the Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh books and are addicted to Fox News. Michelle Bachman should be tried as an accessory to murder.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 26, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Not the first case this year for census workers. Definitely the worst case. Weapons have reportedly been brandished in numerous locations around the country including those as urban as Los Angeles County. It would be nice to know how many incidents have occurred, the types of threats made, and why the Census has not reported them to the public or evidently their workforce.

Posted by: limejunction | September 26, 2009 2:30 AM | Report abuse


Well put, "Walker1".

Thank you for your congent thoughts.


Posted by: castleton1 | September 26, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The chance of this being merely a drug related murder are slim to none. Pot growers and meth makers would not be so stupid to murder someone in this way, they would have to know it would bring in law enforcement of every variety in force.

This was political, and a direct result of the seditious bile that the likes of Michelle Bachman and Glen Beck are spewing.

Posted by: plaza04433 | September 26, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

its got to be a set up just like the liberal Democrat who broke the windows in the Denver democratic offices and tried to blame it on republicans. you can probably catch them in Pittsburgh right now the democrats are tearing the city apart attacking civilians destroying privet businesses . this is how the left works,

Posted by: getsix1 | September 26, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

its just a set up by the liberals democrats murder and blame the republicans the same group that are terrorizing Pittsburgh destroying privet property and attacking law enforcement there nothing they wont do to get there narrow minded agenda by even murder

Posted by: getsix1 | September 26, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

the post i guess is just another arm of the democratic party. its no wonder that most journalist are Communist or socialist. i can only hope they will go bankrupt soon

Posted by: getsix1 | September 26, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: getsix1
"its just a set up by the liberals democrats murder and blame the republicans the same group that are terrorizing Pittsburgh"

Thank you for your delusional and paranoid rant. Protesters from Pittsburgh are going to come down to the woods of Kentucky to tie up and hang one of their own. Yeah, right. You are psychotic.

Posted by: plaza04433 | September 26, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in Los Angeles County and as soon as I could get out of there I moved way up to the National Forest area of very far Northern California.
I can easily say that the National Forests are full of Mexican Drug Cartel Pot Farms. They carry AK-47's and are very bold.
They are not just in Nor-Cal but also in Oregon, Washington State, and just about every National Forest where growing pot is possible.
This poor simple, loving and trusting man as his friend said he was, walked into a Mexican Nationals Pot farm. Wrong place/Wrong time.
I'm sure he was tortured and this will all come out in the coming weeks.
They HATE White people and the U.S.Census.
Where I live and am now moving out of in far-Nor-Cal, several older White men have turned up only a few parts and pieces of them.
Nothing like their garments, shoes, eyeglasses were ever found. Only a few bones were ever found of them.
We here all know full well what people from big cities don't have a clue about, because we live in the National Forests, or right on the very edge of them.
Wish I could bet on this one!
Only other possibility would be TWEEKERS. They are beyond Paranoid.

Posted by: Colony14 | September 26, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I have little doubt that the FBI can find the perps. As to the rather strange assumptions by some that the census worker stumbled into something illegal in the forest, census workers go to communities and homes to do their job, where there is a record of people living, not the forest, they are not doing a census on deer or bears, LOL. This man was clearly taken to the forest by the killer or killers.

Posted by: rkerg | September 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

To "thebobbob":

Can you explain how you derived the Republicans were responsible for the murder of Mr. Sparkman exactly? I don't see the coonection as to how FED scribbled on or near the victim translates to "followers" of a particular political party are guilty of the crime.

Posted by: LieToMe | September 28, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

A gov't worker was captured, tortured and brutally killed...... ... was it the Taliban? Hamas? Al Queda? ....... NO.... it was some crazy f-ed up people in the backwoods of Kentucky

And the stupid part is the census is supposed to ensure that the state gets the representation proportionate to its population. My suggestion is we just not count Kentucky in this census, enter a big fat zero and be done with it. No congressman.

And why is the Kentucky State Police handling this? Federal worker in a National Forest (Federal land). Seems to me this is Federal jurisdiction.

Posted by: er20194 | September 28, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

it was obama who did it. and stop blamin this on rednecks. they would be saying the same thing about you if you mugged someone in the streets of D.C.... o wait... that actually happens. Hmmm. look in the mirror before you start jumping on other peoples backs.

Posted by: xtremelard2 | October 1, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I worked for the census last spring in a rural area of Florida. I am not surprised by this at all, sadly. There were plenty of normal Republicans, and there was the lunatic fringe who would shout at you and sic the dogs and threaten to bring out the shotguns. Most of them were scared. And it happens every census, regardless of who is president, but this time it was about a black socialist president who was going to take over individual liberties and remove their guns.

My car was never very far from me. My phone was always ready. I didn't have to go in peoples houses - and I got another job before that phase of it.

I did go into areas where I wondered if I would be shot, or eaten by something, or both.

Poor man. Very disturbing and it probably is very much what it seems to be.

Posted by: jmcm1955 | October 2, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

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