Witness: Census Worker Found Gagged, Bound, Nude

Man was celebrating family reunion when he came upon horrifying sight.

ByABC News
September 25, 2009, 8:34 PM

Sept. 25, 2009 -- The part-time census worker found hanging from a tree in a rural Kentucky cemetery was naked, his hands and feet bound with duct tape, a witness told the Associated Press on Friday.

Jerry Weaver of Fairfield, Ohio, said Bill Sparkman, 51, was gagged and had duct tape over his eyes and neck. Something resembling an identification tag was taped to his neck, he reported.

Weaver said he was in the area for a family reunion when he and other relatives came upon Sparkman's body on Sept. 12 in Daniel Boone National Forest.

Sparkman's truck was found nearby with his computer still inside.

"His tailgate was down," Weaver told the AP. "I thought he could have been killed somewhere else and brought there and hanged up for display, or they actually could have killed him right there. It was a bad, bad scene."

Sparkman's body was found with the word "Fed" scrawled in his chest.

The federal government has suspended door-to-door interviews the area.

Census authorities maintain they have "no information" that his death was related to his job.

The FBI is investigating the possibility that Sparkman was the victim of anti-government sentiment.

Investigators are saying little about the crime, but some people wonder if his death in the remote part of southeastern Kentucky known for its meth labs and hidden marijuana fields had less to do with his job than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Specific details of the investigation are not being released at this time because it is an ongoing investigation," Kentucky State Patrol Trooper Don Trosper said.

U.S. Census Bureau spokesman Burt Reist said in a statement today, "The extent of information we have about the investigation is that the FBI is currently gathering evidence to determine whether this death was the result of foul play."