FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky census worker found naked, bound with duct tape and hanging from a tree with "fed" scrawled on his chest killed himself but staged his death to make it look like a homicide, authorities said Tuesday.
Bill Sparkman, 51, was found Sept. 12 near a cemetery in a heavily wooded area of southeastern Kentucky. A man who found the body in the Daniel Boone National Forest has said Sparkman also was gagged and had an identification badge taped to his neck.
Authorities said Sparkman alone manipulated the scene to conceal a suicide. Police said he had talked with others about ending his life, though authorities did not say specifically who in a news release.
Sparkman had recently taken out two life insurance policies that would not pay out for suicide, authorities said. If Sparkman had been killed on the job, his family also would have been be eligible for up to $10,000 in death gratuity payments from the government.
He was not eligible for a separate life insurance policy through the government because his census work was intermittent, Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner has previously said.
The Census Bureau suspended door-to-door interviews in the rural county after Sparkman's body was found.
Anti-government sentiment was initially one possibility in the death. Authorities said Sparkman had discussed perceived negative views of the federal government in the area.
A friend of Sparkman's, Gilbert Acciardo, previously told The Associated Press that he warned Sparkman to be careful when he did his census work. Acciardo, a retired Kentucky state trooper, said he told Sparkman people in the rural area would perceive him differently because he worked for the federal government.
Sparkman's mother, Henrie Sparkman of Inverness, Fla., has said her son was an Eagle scout who moved to the area to be a local director for the Boy Scouts of America. He later became a substitute teacher in Laurel County and supplemented that income as a census worker.
Friends and co-workers have said that even while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Sparkman would show up for work smiling with a toboggan cap to cover his balding head. They said he was punctual and dependable.