Human remains found, a man arrested during search for Savannah Spurlock, authorities say

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Savannah Spurlock, a 23-year-old mother of four from Kentucky, has been missing since Jan. 4. Brittney Jackson, Louisville Courier Journal

Human remains that may belong to Savannah Spurlock, the Kentucky mother missing since January, were discovered late Wednesday in Garrard County, and one man is in custody, according to authorities.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said authorities discovered human remains just before midnight Wednesday at a property on Perkins Lane and Fall Lick Road in Garrard County as part of a “search for information” relating to Spurlock.

The remains were taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Frankfort for an autopsy and identification, Purdy said.

Authorities had received a tip about 5 p.m. Wednesday of a foul odor coming from the property.

On Thursday morning, David A. Sparks, 24, of Lancaster, was booked into the Madison County Detention Center and charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

The detention center is in Richmond, which is about 20 miles northeast of where the property is on Fall Lick Road and Perkins Lane. 

Troopers said Sparks is the “primary suspect in a missing persons investigation.” 

His arrest citation — which does not include any mention of Spurlock’s name — said a Garrard County man called his attorney Wednesday to report a foul odor coming from the property.

Purdy told reporters the property belongs to a relative of a suspect.

During a search of the property, human remains were found “in an unnatural position beneath the surface of the ground,” according to the arrest citation.

Others “items of evidence believed to be connected to the missing persons case” were also found with the remains, according to police.

“These items were last known to be in the control of only two individuals, the missing person, and the above,” Sparks’ arrest citation reads.

Sparks lives at the home on the property at Perkins Lane and Fall Lick Road and was one of the last men seen with Spurlock when she went missing in January, WKYT reported.

The discovery of human remains comes days after the six-month anniversary of Spurlock’s disappearance.

The 23-year-old mother of four from Richmond was last seen leaving The Other Bar in Lexington in the early hours of Jan. 4 with three men.

Police had previously said Spurlock did not know the men prior to meeting them that night and that the group drove to a home in Garrard County, about an hour’s drive south of Lexington.

Authorities had previously interviewed the three men but no arrests had been made.

WKYT said Richmond police also previously searched Sparks’ home and towed away a car in January.

In the past few months, Spurlock’s family had offered a $15,000 reward and set up tip boxes around Garrard County in hopes of finding out what happened to Spurlock.

On a Facebook page set up by Spurlock’s family to help bring awareness to her case, a family member wrote a statement would be released Thursday morning.

“Thank you for your continued prayers,” the post read.

This story will be updated.

Reach Billy Kobin at or 502-582-7030. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:

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