Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Laurel County, Ky.: It's kind of hard to cover a homicide investigation . . .

. . . when the police aren't saying anything. On the one hand, I perfectly understand the concerns of law enforcement, who are conducting an important criminal investigation, and don't want to compromise the case.

Let's face it: Criminals can read newspapers, too. Although police haven't officially ruled out an accidental cause of death, this would be the most bizarre case of self-asphyxiation in history. So if somebody killed Sparkman, the killer is still out there somewhere.

For all I know, the killer is right here in the Laurel County Public Library, where I'm using this computer. That little old lady over there . . . well, she doesn't look suspicious, but you can never tell, here in Lower Glennbeckistan, where there are thousands upon thousands of Republicans.

The cops have to do their job, and reporters have to do our jobs, and I'm trying to be as responsible as possible about this story. I just had a brief meeting -- little more than a handshake, really -- with Joseph Deal, managing editor of the local London (Ky.) Sentinel-Echo., whose Monday article about the Sparkman case should be must-reading for anyone interested in this story.

Deal's article Monday was an attempt to clear up "misinformation" -- that's Kentucky State Police spokesman Don Trosper's word -- created by the Sept. 24 article that made this case a national sensation. The Sept. 24. story was clearly flawed, in more ways than one, but the problem is that law enforcement is saying so little about the investigation that nobody can tell exactly what is true or false.

Ergo, we don't even know what we don't know. This is when it's helpful to have a reporter on the scene who's also a "top Hayekian public intellectual," given F.A. Hayek's theories about the diffuse nature of information and the importance of unknown data.

BTW, this public library -- build in 2003 -- is large, beautiful and ultra-modern. However, the reason there are no links in this article is that they've blocked the "open new windows" function on there PC terminals, effectively rendering their computers useless for a blogger. Sigh.

There are other people and places I need to see here in Laurel County, which was where Sparkman lived. Ever since I arrived here, I've been struck by the fact that Sparkman's body was found more than 30 miles east of his home. Although he was employed part-time as a Census worker in Clay County, one of the things we don't know is whether he was actually working the day he disappeared.

By the way, Sparkman apparently disappeared Sept. 9, missed an appointment Sept. 10, and his body was found in the Hoskins Cemetery on Sept. 12. So that's a four-day time span that the police will have to examine very closely.

Will have more later. Ciao.


  1. If they're using any modern browser, you should be able to open multiple tabs in the same window. On the Mac it's command-t; on windows it's control-t. (Safari, Explorer, and Firefox, anyway.)

    I generally prefer to keep one window per blog post, opening the supporting material in other tabs of that window.

    Of course, the function they're using to block new windows might also block new tabs, but it's worth a try.

  2. this may be known, but sometimes holding down the Ctrl key while clicking on a link will override the "open new window" blocker.

  3. Two weeks after Sparkmans death, the police have released basically no informaton. This is what's contributing to the storm of speculation around this story. Maybe the local PD is just not very competent?

    If there really is a federal angle to this the FBI would be involved? Anyody know if they are?

  4. Yes, the FBI is involved.

  5. Stace: The fella's name at the Sentinel-Echo is Joseph Dill.

    Quoted from and linked to at: