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Son sure Ky. census taker was slain in hanging

LONDON, Ky. – Josh Sparkman lost the only family he ever really had when his census worker father was found hanging from a tree in rural Kentucky, his feet and hands duct-taped and the word “fed” scrawled on his chest.

Now the 19-year-old wants answers from investigators who will not even confirm Bill Sparkman was slain more than two weeks after his body was found.

“I look at it as disrespectful to be still throwing suicide and accident around,” Josh Sparkman told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday. “He didn’t do this to himself.”

Bill Sparkman, 51, was a substitute teacher and part-time census worker who had received chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was found tied to a tree with a rope around his neck in a remote Appalachian forest on Sept. 12, and the Clay County coroner said “fed” was written on his chest, apparently in felt tip pen.

The Ohio man who found Sparkman’s body while visiting a cemetery said he had been gagged, his hands and feet bound.

Josh Sparkman was adopted by Bill Sparkman when he was a baby.

“I completely broke down,” said Josh Sparkman, who is acquainted with other family members but has infrequent contact with them. “It’s always just been me and my dad. It’s all I have, and I don’t have him anymore.”

Jay Blanton, a spokesman for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, said the governor understands Josh Sparkman’s frustration but is confident state police are moving as quickly as possible.

Kentucky State Police Maj. Lynn Cross said he has “full and complete” faith in the investigation after reviewing the case Monday with Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of the detachment investigating Sparkman’s death. He declined to divulge details from the briefing.

Josh Sparkman said police and the FBI have searched his father’s home but told him little, even when the body would be released.