Small memorial for fallen Census worker

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

It's been almost a month since Bill Sparkman was found dead in a cemetary, and the circumstances of his death are still unreleased.
A Census regional director and a former Census worker both went to the cemetary today to pay respects to the fallen worker.
"I think all the Census family was shocked and devastated because this was the first incident of this nature that's occurred," U.S. Census Bureau Regional Director Wayne Hatcher said.
Hatcher travelled all the way from Charlotte to pay respects to his former employee.
"He was an excellent employee. He worked through this part of Kentucky, he worked in five counties. The work he did was just outstanding work," Hatcher said.
Although the investigation is ongoing, the circumstances of his death are still unknown.
"Here it is almost a month, and there is still no closure with the circumstances surrounding his death," former Census worker Bennie Smith said.
Both Hatcher and Smith held a small memorial for Sparkman.
Smith played his saxophone in Sparkman's and prayed, leaving flowers at the site.
Even though Smith was optimistic for a bigger turnout, he just wants to help any way he can.
"You would've hoped that more people would've came, but the effect and cause of why we're here was pretty much felt," Smith said.
"It's pretty humbling to be here at the site where his body was found," Hatcher said.
Although Sparkman's four other counties are covered by other employees now, the census bureau says it will not go door-to-door in Clay County until there the cause of death is determined.
The census is still active in Clay County, but they are only making phone calls for information in the meantime.
In addition to a memorial, Smith said he's starting a foundation for Bill Sparkman's family.


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  • by mark Location: alabama on Nov 5, 2009 at 06:55 PM
    It is extremely suspicious that this CRIME and obvious ASSASINATION has been kept "hush hush". Seems to me like some druggy has decided to try and scare or intimidate the government. Don't let this family think their loved one committed suicide. It makes the feds and any other law enforcement official who investigated this cold blooded murder look like they are either complicant or ignorant! You decide...
  • by layla Location: alabama on Nov 5, 2009 at 06:49 PM
    It is an obvious murder and a possible cover up do to the drug activities in these areas. I think it is a very dihonorable thing to do let a family think there husband/father/son/grandchild took his own.It is ridiculous and unacceptable that this is anything other than a murder. He has apparantly stumbled upon a very paranoid drug dealer/grower/excon etc.
  • by Anonymous Location: USA on Oct 12, 2009 at 02:50 PM
    My father (deceased) had grown up in a small, rural town in the Midwest. Whenever we would visit my grandmother, he would tell us to stay away from certain farm families. He said that they grew pot on their land and profited quite well from it. They had "no trespassing" sighs all around their farmland and their teenagers drove brand new pickup trucks and sports cars. They had huge homes and barns, etc. I still go back to put flowers on my parents and relatives graves. Those "pot" farmers are my age and pillars of their community. They contribute to their churches, donate lots of money to restore grain elevators and irrigation equipment, etc. Their names are on town plaques and memorials. They continue to prosper even though the rest of the small town looks like a ghost town .... The church leaders, town council, other leaders turn a blind eye to them and say nothing because they continue to contribute money to the people and causes that benefit them and their relatives.
  • by Student Location: Berea on Oct 12, 2009 at 10:17 AM
    I would have liked to have known about this. I knew Mr. Sparkman since I was in elementary school and he substituted at North when I was a senior. He was an amazing person and I agree that we should know more about the case and the memorial. It doesn't seem right that nobody, not even his family, knows what is going on in the case...to me it doesn't seem like they are doing anything to find his killer. I also agree that it's ridiculous that they have not ruled out accidental death, I mean I think its fairly obvious that it was not accidental or suicide from what I have read and heard.
  • by cutter4x4 Location: South of East KY on Oct 12, 2009 at 08:21 AM
    millions of dollars to promote the census but they could spare a dime to promote a small service ? I didn't know Mr. Sparkman, however I would have liked to attended the ceremony, if only we had known.
  • by Former Kentuckian on Oct 12, 2009 at 08:15 AM
    To me, this sure makes it look bad for Kentucky. If this memorial was publized and no one came, is awful. This case is being treated differently than I've ever heard of one being treaded.
  • by DC Location: Hazard on Oct 12, 2009 at 07:54 AM
    This whole sordid affair smacks of total incompetence. First, why all the secrecy? Secondly, why nothing turning up in the investigation? We watch stuff like this ALWAYS gets solved with high powered detectives/coroners in other places. And thirdly, because this man was brutally murdered, does that mean no canvassing of Clay County by the census bureau?? Does this all sound logical? There are all sorts of sordid rumors surrounding this case,including the mutilation of the man's body. Come on with it, already. We, the people DEMAND better police work, and accountability by the FBI, the State Police, the County officials, and The Coroner's ofice. We are tired of the "Keystone Cops" and their usual bungling and SECRECY. Also, WYMT should have had the decency of telling the public of his memorial service, you have sold enough air time reporting this heinous crime, and last but not least, my respect goes out to the family, survivors, and friends of the deceased.
  • by sue Location: Letcher Co on Oct 12, 2009 at 07:18 AM
    I had no idea a service was being held in honor of Mr. Sparkman. I live in Letcher Country and did not know Mr. Sparkman and really don't know anything about Clay County but I would have attended the service in honor of Mr. Sparkman. My heart has been so heavy for him, his family and friends since this terrible tragity.

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