More Details Emerge About Dead Census Worker

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Bill Sparkman was found near this cemetery. Photo: AP

Yesterday we wrote that while it was too early to conclude the mysterious death of a census worker — found in Kentucky with a rope around his neck and "fed" written across his chest — was motivated by anti-government sentiment, it wouldn't be surprising if it had been, considering the persistent fearmongering emanating from right-wing politicians and media outlets. When people are being told that the census could be used to round them up into internment camps on the orders of an illegitimate president, one who promotes "Hitler-like" policies, seeks to euthanize the elderly, and hopes to turn America into the new Soviet Union, it's really only a matter of time before someone unfortunate enough to believe it all — especially someone already distrustful of the government — takes matters into his or her own hands. That doesn't mean this is definitely what happened in this particular case; it just means it's a plausible scenario, given the preliminary evidence. (Of course, to readers of certain conservative websites that linked to us yesterday, all the hysteric, paranoid rhetoric is totally innocent and legitimate and could never possibly lead to violence. How absurd!)

Anyway, now that another day has passed, new details have emerged about the investigation. TPM Muckraker talks to the coroner on the case, who confirms that "fed" was indeed written on Bill Sparkman's chest in felt-tip marker. Investigators have revealed that Sparkman died of asphyxiation and was found either tied to or hanging from a tree (reports differ) but with his feet on the ground. They have yet to conclude whether the cause of death was murder, suicide, or an accident and are still looking for a motive.

Police: Ky. Census worker died from asphyxiation [AP via Google]
Early Findings Released on Census Worker's Death [WP]