Lincoln jail houses man arrested in connection to Spurlock case

Published 10:59 am Thursday, July 18, 2019

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LANCASTER – After six long months, the remains of the missing Richmond mother of four, Savannah Spurlock, have been found and a man has been arrested in connection with the case.

David A. Sparks, 24, of Lancaster, was arrested July 11, the day after police responded to 3178 Fall Lick Road, where they found Spurlock’s remains buried in a shallow grave. Sparks is being held at the Lincoln County Regional Jail.

The property is owned by Spark’s parents, Alan and Alta Sparks. According to arrest records, Alan Sparks contacted an attorney Wednesday, July 10 to report a foul odor on the property.

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Sparks was arrested shortly thereafter on charges of tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. He was arraigned in Garrard County Circuit Court where he entered a plea of “not guilty.”

Monday morning, Sparks appeared in court again for a preliminary hearing, during which several new details were released. No cameras or recorders were allowed in the courtroom.

Kentucky State Police Detective Ty Chavies testified that Spurlock’s remains were found in a shallow grave, the deepest part being about 19 inches, in black, plastic trash bags and a gray accent rug. Her body, which was not clothed, was folded over in half in an unnatural position and her ankles were bound by tape.

Her identity was confirmed by the tattoos on her body, as well as fingerprints, Chavies said. A portion of plastic was visible prior to any digging on July 10, he stated.

Richmond Police, Kentucky State Police, local Garrard County law enforcement as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an evidence recovery team were on hand for the July 10 search.

Garrard County Attorney Mark Metcalf questioned Chavies, asking him to look at several photos of the gray rug that was found with Spurlock’s remains, as well as another similar, gray rug that was allegedly purchased by Sparks.

Chavies testified that Sparks texted his sister on Jan. 4 specifically about a rug stating, “Hey, where did you get that rug? I’m going to get another one.”

Metcalf shared photos of the rug that was found with Spurlock’s remains, as well as photos of a second, similar rug that was photographed inside Spark’s bedroom at 118 Price Court. Chavies said receipts and video surveillance from Walmart showed that Sparks purchased the second rug.

According to Chavies, Spurlock, Sparks and two other men traveled from Lexington to 118 Price Court on the night of Jan. 3. The two other men have been interviewed by police but have not been named as suspects or identified in any press releases.

A Jan. 10 search of the Price Court residence revealed a blood stain on the inside of the bedroom closet door, which was tested for DNA and confirmed to match DNA of Savannah Spurlock.

The blood stain was not evident to the naked eye and a reactant had to be used to reveal it, Chavies said. The rug that was found with Spurlock’s remains is currently being tested.

Chavies testified that the rug, the tape used to bound Spurlock’s ankles, and the black garbage bags all corresponded with items that were found during a search of 118 Price Court.

Through interviews with witnesses and information provided by cell phone providers, Chavies said Sparks traveled from Price Court in Lancaster, to his parent’s home on the corner of Fall Lick Road and Perkins Lane, where he spent two hours on the evening of Jan. 4. He returned to his parents property in the early morning hours of Jan. 5 for about two hours, as well, Chavies said.

Sparks allegedly admitted to being at his parents at those times. During his first interview with police, Chavies said Sparks told police that the other two men left in the early morning hours of Jan. 4 and that he went to sleep on the couch, while Spurlock went to sleep in his bedroom.

Sparks said around mid-morning he woke to Spurlock asking him for the address and assumed she was arranging transportation. He said he went back to sleep and when he woke up around noon, Spurlock was no longer at the residence.

During cross-examination, Public Defender Matt Myers asked Chavies to explain the nature of the charge of tampering with physical evidence.

Chavies said the charge was a combination of things, including the removal of the rug, the removal of the body from the residence, the black bags around the body and the “clandestine grave.”

The defense mentioned the fact that the Fall Lick Road property had already been searched by police once and asked Chavies if police have determined the length of time the body was at that location.

Chavies said he could not say and when asked if it was possible if the body was not there in January during the first search, Chavies said the question was speculative and did not answer.

Questions about the cause and time of death were referred to the Medical Examiner’s Office. An autopsy is currently being performed and results are still pending this week.

Judge Bill Oliver said a rather adequate amount of detailed evidence was presented during Monday’s hearing and therefore referred the case to the grand jury for consideration.

Metcalf asked that Sparks continue to be held in Lincoln County Regional Jail without bond. Myers argued that the case has garnered a lot of attention and that Sparks’ record is insignificant, describing it as “low-to-moderate.” Oliver said the bond will be reviewed.

Sabrina Speratos, a close friend of Spurlock’s told TV news stations the testimony Monday was hard to hear. Speratos sat in the courtroom alongside other friends and family members as the detective testified to details they had not yet heard as of Monday.

A public visitation was held Tuesday evening in Richmond, followed by a private funeral and burial.