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Police: Census Worker Committed Suicide

From Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeighState and federal authorities in Kentucky say a census worker found hanging from a tree in September killed himself.When the naked body of 51-year old Bill Sparkman was found hanging from a Clay County tree, with the letters F-E-D scrawled across his chest, there were fears he had been killed because of his government job.But after a thorough investigation, that included DNA testing of crime scene evidence, authorities are completely convinced Sparkman took his own life.“Mr. Sparkman was found in contact with the ground, almost on his knees – roughly a few inches off of the ground. To survive, all Mr. Sparkman had to do, at any time, was to stand up," says Kentucky State Police Captain Lisa Rudzinski.She adds, prior to his death, Sparkman had discussed with a credible witness his intention to commit suicide.In May, Sparkman had taken out two insurance policies, worth 600-thousand dollars, that would pay off only if he died accidentally.Federal authorities say the investigation concludes their interest in the case.

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.