LEXINGTON, Ky. — Asphyxiation caused the death of federal census worker whose body was found at a rural Clay County cemetery with a rope around his neck, but state police have not determined the death was a homicide.
Bill Sparkman, 51, of Laurel County, reportedly had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest.
That raised questions about whether he was killed because of hard feelings against the government, and catapulted the mysterious death into a national story.
But police aren't sure whether Sparkman was doing census work in Clay County at the time he died, Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of the state police post handling the investigation, said Thursday.
In fact, one early media report — that a computer Sparkman used for census work was found in his truck near the cemetery — wasn't true, Rudzinski said.
Police found Sparkman's red pickup truck, but the computer wasn't in it, she said.
Police have not ruled whether Sparkman's death resulted from homicide, accident or suicide, Rudzinski said.
"There are too many unanswered questions for us to lean one way or the other," Rudzinski said. "Every scenario is still on the table. We have not ruled this is a hate crime against a federal employee."
The only thing police have concluded is that Sparkman didn't die as a result of natural causes.
And reports that Sparkman was hanging from a tree at the cemetery create an image that didn't fit with specific evidence where Sparkman was found, Rudzinski said.
Sparkman had a rope around his neck that was attached to a tree, but was not hanging in the traditional way that many people envision that, the state police commander said.
Sparkman's body was in contact with the ground, state police said in a news release.
Read the full story at Kentucky.com.