‘Heartbroken.’ Statement from the family of Savannah Spurlock
Missing 23-year-old Madison County mom Savannah Spurlock was buried in the back yard of a Garrard County home not far from where she spent her last night, according to results of tests on remains found Wednesday night.
Kentucky State Police confirmed the remains found Wednesday were of Spurlock during a Thursday afternoon press conference in Madison County.
Spurlock had been missing since January and an extensive search led law enforcement to several Central Kentucky counties before it ended Wednesday with the recovery of her remains. The discovery was made after a Garrard County man reported a foul odor coming from his Fall Lick Road property outside of Lancaster. Spurlock was found just before midnight.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that Savannah’s remains were found on the property of the home in Garrard County overnight, our sobs of pain and physical anguish are met with moments of our beautiful memories of the vibrant and vivacious person she was,” Lisa Thoma, Spurlock’s aunt said in a video statement.
Following the KSP announcement, Thoma announced the family would be shutting down the Facebook page Missing Savannah, which has been active since her disappearance.
“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’ve fought a very public fight and now we must step away and grieve privately.”
A few hours after the discovery, David A. Sparks, 23, of Lancaster, was charged with abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering. Sparks was the primary suspect in a missing persons investigation, according to his arrest citation, which does not mention Spurlock’s name.
Spurlock went missing Jan. 4 when she left The Other Bar in Lexington with three men. The mother of four went back to one of their homes in Garrard County, and the men told police she left on foot in the morning, Richmond police said in January.
State police Trooper Robert Purdy confirmed in Thursday’s press conference that Sparks was identified as one of the three men last seen with Spurlock. No charges have been filed against the other two men, Purdy said.
The investigation is in its early stages, and Purdy would not say whether further charges will be filed.
“As a result of the ongoing investigation, the information that we had, based upon her location, where she was located, we felt that the abuse of the corpse and tampering with physical evidence was a charge that we could actually charge him with this morning,” Purdy said.
Spurlock’s phone was last pinged at 8:30 a.m. the morning she disappeared and was not turned on since, police said.
The home where Spurlock was found had been searched at least once before, Purdy said. Investigators are still working to determine when Spurlock’s body was placed there.
Police have conducted multiple searches in Garrard County and the three men who were with Spurlock were interviewed by police at least once.
Her family had offered a $15,000 reward for the first tip that led to her safe return or recovery. A private investigator was also recently hired by Spurlock’s family.
Ellen Spurlock, Savannah’s mother, described her oldest daughter in February as outgoing, kind-hearted and responsible. She believed the men Savannah left with were hiding something.
Savannah’s aunt, Lisa Thoma, wrote a Herald-Leader opinion column July 1 pleading for people to come forward if they knew anything about Spurlock’s whereabouts.
Spurlock attended Madison Central High School and later went to Eastern Kentucky University, according to a university spokesperson.
Her best friend since high school and the godmother to Spurlock’s children, Sabrina Speratos, wrote on Facebook last month she would do whatever it took to bring Spurlock home. She has led several searches since Spurlock’s disappearance.
“She was worthy. She was funny and kind. She is a mother. She is a human being. She is my person,” Speratos wrote.
Kala Hamblin, who became friends with Spurlock when they were both students at EKU, wrote in June it “broke her heart” Savannah wasn’t there living her “happiest life.”
“She’s not here doing things she loves, being with the people she loves so deeply, and most importantly, she’s not here working to build herself and her children the best possible life,” Hamblin said. “My heart has been shattered since I got the call about her missing.”