Officials: Census Worker Bound His Hands, Feet and Mouth with Duct Tape, Wrote “Fed” on His Chest and Hung Himself

November 25th, 2009

Oh, ok.

Via: Washington Post:

The Census Bureau employee found dead in September killed himself and staged his death to look like a homicide, state and federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

William E. Sparkman Jr. died of asphyxiation and was found with hands, feet and mouth bound with duct tape, a rope around his neck and the word “FED” written on his chest, investigators concluded. Passersby spotted his body on Sept. 12 in a remote area of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Witnesses said Sparkman had discussed ending his own life, recent federal investigations of public officials in Kentucky and negative perceptions of federal agencies expressed by Clay County, Ky. residents, investigators said.

Sparkman also secured two life insurance policies that would not pay out for suicide shortly before his death, investigators said. Authorities decided to share some, but not all of the details of their investigation on Tuesday due to the high level of national interest.

Sparkman was a substitute teacher and one of 5,900 part-time Census field workers that conduct the annual American Community Survey and dozens of other government surveys each year. Such workers are typically called in by the Census Bureau for assignments as needed. The agency said it will hire roughly 700,000 temporary workers to conduct follow-up interviews for next year’s decennial Census.

Normal census operations will resume in Clay County next month, Census spokesman Stephen Buckner said.

“The death of our co-worker, William Sparkman, was a tragedy and remains a loss for the Census Bureau family,” Buckner said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Gilbert Acciardo, a former state trooper who worked with Sparkman at an after-school day-care program, said that Sparkman gave him no clues that he was contemplating suicide. Sparkman had been treated for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but told Acciardo that it was under control. Nevertheless, he said he was confident in the results of the investigation.

“If that’s what they say, because they are the professionals,” Acciardo said when told of the findings. “With the time frame they worked on it, and the thoroughness of the investigation, it sounds like a reasonable statement.”

Violence against Census employees is extremely rare, according to the agency. Field workers receive safety tips as part of their basic training and are instructed to immediately remove themselves from unsafe situations and to inform supervisors if they consider an area too unsafe to work alone.

Twenty work-related Census Bureau deaths have occurred since 1998, according to agency records. During the 2000 Census, 13 workers died in automobile accidents, and an Indiana employee was attacked and killed by a pack of dogs. Since then, two employees of the agency’s New York regional office died on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001 and four others have died in automobile deaths.

3 Responses to “Officials: Census Worker Bound His Hands, Feet and Mouth with Duct Tape, Wrote “Fed” on His Chest and Hung Himself”

  1. Mike Gogulski Says:

    Phew, I’m glad that’s settled!

    Now, why are my eyes bleeding?

  2. realitydesign Says:

    Wow, with this story in mind I look to the cryptogon header picture and feel its overwhelming appropriateness wash over me like a baby blanket, as I grab for the pacifier, roll over and drift off into an infinite slumber, goggles strapped, braindead, numb.

  3. RobertS Says:

    My only question is why? Were they just testing the water with a lurid tale of internal terrorism and lynchings, or was it something else. My head reels that they will probably pass this off as suicide, and furthermore they will get away with it. Maybe the point is to see how gullible is the public.

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