Breaking News Emails
A man was arrested in connection with the disappearance in January of a Kentucky mother of four after human remains were found at a home in Garrard County, police said.
David Sparks, 23, was taken into custody Thursday morning on charges of tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse and is being held at the Madison County Detention Center, Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Robert Purdy said Thursday.
Hours before, just before midnight Wednesday, federal authorities discovered human remains at the home.
The remains are being taken to the state medical examiner's office to determine if they belong to Savannah Spurlock, a resident of Richmond, Kentucky, who was last seen in January after a night out with friends in Lexington.
“As a result of the autopsy we can confirm the remains are that of Savannah Spurlock, who went missing on the January 5 after leaving a Lexington bar with three individuals," Purdy told reporters Thursday.
Spurlock's mother, Ellen Spurlock, previously told NBC's "Dateline" that her daughter had recently given birth to twin boys and was looking forward to spending time with friends Jan. 4. Spurlock, who was 22 at the time of her disappearance, also has a 2-year-old son and a 4-year-old son, her mother said.
Spurlock met up with two of her friends and went to The Other Bar in Lexington, Richmond police said. At some point, she left the bar with three men.
Lt. Col. Rodney Richardson, assistant chief of police at the Richmond Police Department, said they do not believe Spurlock knew the men, though they knew one another.
Investigators also learned that two of the men last seen with Spurlock were in a car with her the following morning on Jan. 5. The third man followed the group in a separate car, Richardson said.
Sparks was interviewed by authorities when the initial investigation found that Spurlock was seen at his home in the morning hours after she left the bar.
Purdy said that Sparks' home was searched about four months ago, but no remains were found at the time.
"There’s a lot of things that we’re going to be continuing to look at in the coming days and weeks as part of the ongoing investigation, trying to determine when the body may have been placed there," he said.
According to NBC affiliate WLEX in Lexington, police were called to the home in Garrard County after someone there reported smelling a foul odor. The remains were found buried behind the house, the outlet reported.
A search of the property also turned up items that belonged to Spurlock, according to WLEX.
Spurlock's aunt, Lisa Thoma, read a statement from their family Thursday just prior to the press conference on a Facebook page dedicated to finding Spurlock, according to WLEX.
"As hard as the last six months have been, the truth of what happened that night in January is going to be even more painful," Thoma said. "We have fought a very public fight, and now we must step away and grieve privately. We plan to close this page down Saturday morning after we post the Discovery ID feature tomorrow."
Thoma thanked the thousands of people who joined the page in an effort to find her niece and asked for privacy as the family grieves.
"Our sobs of pain and physical anguish are met with moments of our beautiful memories of the vibrant and vivacious person she was," Thoma said of Spurlock. "She lives on through her precious boys who each carry a special part of her in them."