Update: Ky. Census Worker Committed Suicide

In a bizarre twist, authorities in Kentucky have announced that census worker Bill Sparkman committed suicide and staged it to look like murder, possibly so that his family could collect on two life insurance policies.

The Associated Press previously reported, citing law enforcement officials who spoke anonymously, that investigators were examining whether Sparkman manipulated the scene in order to conceal a suicide and make a life insurance claim possible for his son. The two law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Life insurance policies typically do not cover suicides within a certain time period after the policy begins.

Because he was a census employee, Sparkman’s family would have been eligible for up to $10,000 in death gratuity payments if he was killed on the job, according to the Office of Personnel Management. 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.

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.

UPDATE at 11/24/09 1:28:54 pm:

Since this news came out, I’ve received several angry emails demanding that I apologize for saying Sparkman had been murdered by a right wing extremist.

The problem is, I never wrote anything like that. For the record, this was my post when the story broke, and I don’t apologize for a single word:

There’s not enough information yet to say for sure what was behind this killing, so let’s not jump to conclusions. But the description of the circumstances and the timing (around the time of the Washington DC tea party) raises a strong suspicion that anti-government sentiment may have been the motivation.

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