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'Fed' scrawled on body of hanged census worker

  • Story Highlights
  • Kentucky census worker found hanged from tree
  • Felt tip pen used to write on body of William E. Sparkman Jr, coroner says
  • Asphyxiation preliminary cause of death, coroner says
  • Authorities are trying to determine whether foul play was involved
From Aaron Cooper
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(CNN) -- The word "fed" was scrawled on the body of a census worker in Kentucky whose corpse was found nearly two weeks ago, a coroner said Friday.

Clay County Coroner Jim Trosper told CNN that "fed" was written on the body of William E. Sparkman Jr., 51, in felt tip pen.

He was found with a rope around his neck near a cemetery in Clay County, in southeastern Kentucky, state police said. The rope was tied to a tree, but his body was touching the ground, authorities said.

Authorities said Thursday that asphyxiation was the preliminary cause of death, but Trosper said that it would take some time for authorities to make the final determination of the manner of death. The information will be released by the state, he said.

FBI spokesman David Beyer said the agency was "attempting to determine whether foul play was involved, and if there was foul play involved, whether it is related to his employment as a census worker."

The Census Bureau said it had no information to confirm that Sparkman's death was related to his work with the bureau.

Census Bureau Director Bob Groves said in a written statement that Sparkman was a "shining example of the hard-working men and women the Census Bureau has in the field."

CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report.

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