Police confirmed on Thursday that the remains found buried on the rural Kentucky property belonged to Savannah Spurlock who vanished after leaving a bar with three men on January 4
A strong odor is what led police to the buried remains of mother-of-four Savannah Spurlock on a rural Kentucky property – but investigators can’t yet explain how they didn’t find her body when they first searched the home after she vanished six months ago.
Police confirmed on Thursday that the remains found buried on the property in Garrard County belonged to Spurlock after she was last seen alive leaving a bar with three men on January 4.
One of those men, 23-year-old David Sparks, has since been charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence after the remains were uncovered on the property where he lives with his parents.
Sparks and the other two men – who police haven’t identified – were captured on surveillance cameras leaving the Lexington bar with Spurlock before driving her to his home 40 miles away.
Police searched the property back in February when Spurlock – who had given birth to twins in December – was reported missing but failed to find her body.
Investigators received a tip on Wednesday at 5pm about a foul odor coming from the property. The tip came from a man who had contacted his attorney about the smell.
Police found the human remains buried on the property just before midnight and they are still trying to determine how and when Spurlock was killed.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said on Thursday they are working to find out when Spurlock’s body was buried but confirmed it was likely she had not been placed there recently.
He would not comment on why police did not recover the body back in February when they first searched the property.
Authorities also found items belonging to Spurlock that had been buried with the remains but Purdy said he could not comment because of the ongoing investigation.
Police released photos of Spurlock’s phone and bag with the hope of locating them in the weeks after she vanished. Her phone was either switched off or ran out of battery just hours after leaving the bar.
David Sparks, 23, was arrested early Thursday morning after the remains were uncovered on the property in Garrard County where he lives with his parents
Kentucky State Police said they received a tip on Wednesday at 5pm that led them back to the rural home in Garrard County that had search immediately after Spurlock disappeared. They found the human remains buried on the property just before midnight
SAVANNAH SPURLOCK CASE TIMELINE:
January 4: Savannah Spurlock goes out to a Lexington bar with a friend at about 10pm. It’s the first time she has been out in months because she gave birth to twins in December. Her friend leaves the bar after the pair have a fight because Savannah wants to stay out longer.
January 5: She is caught on surveillance video leaving the bar with three men.
Savannah is driven to a rural home 40 miles away in Garrard County in the back of a car with two of the men while another vehicle driven by the third man follows behind.
She video calls her mother at about 2.30am saying she’ll be home later in the morning. Savannah is not heard from again and her phone is switched off, or dies, at about 8am.
January 8: Police appeal for help looking for Savannah and the men she was seen leaving the bar with. They release the surveillance images of them leaving the bar.
They launch a wide scale search for her.
January 22: Police reveal they’ve located the men she left the bar with and are questioning them.
They execute a search warrant on a home in Garrard County that belongs to one of the men. It is believed to be the home where Savannah was last seen. Investigators seize a car from the property to examine.
January 28: Police say they have questioned the men but no charges have been filed.
Search and rescue teams scour the area near the home.
February 4: Police reveal that one of the men told them she left the property ‘later that morning’ but do not say how she left. Investigators are unable to confirm this.
February 5: Searchers spend Savannah’s 23rd birthday scouring corn fields and an area near a bridge in Garrard County.
July 10: Police say the have found human remains connected to the case at the home they previously searched. They searched it after receiving a tip about a foul odor on the property.
July 11: Police arrest David Sparks, 23, and charge him with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence. He is believed to be one of the three men last seen with Spurlock and lived at the property with his parents.
The discovery of the remains comes just days after the six month mark in the investigation.
Over the course of the investigation, police refused to publicly identify the three men last seen with Spurlock or reveal much of the details of the case.
They had previously searched the property in February and seized a car parked outside in the early days of the investigation.
It is not clear whether police found any evidence at the property during the initial search.
Spurlock was last seen on surveillance cameras leaving The Other Bar in Lexington with three men on January 4.
The young woman gave birth to twins in December and also has a four-year-old son, Noah, and a two-year-old son, Jace.
Police have previously said they do not believe that Spurlock knew the men prior to meeting them that night.
Authorities said Spurlock was driven to the rural home in the back of a car with two of the men while another vehicle driven by the third man followed behind.
Spurlock had video called her mother at about 2.30am from one of the men’s vehicles to tell her she would be home later that morning.
All three of the men were identified and questioned by police in the early stages of the investigation but no arrests were made.
Investigators confirmed they had forensically searched both of the vehicles but refused to release the findings of the searches.
One of the men claimed that Spurlock had left the home ‘later that morning’ – without detailing how – but investigators were not been able to confirm it.
Police searched the countryside surrounding the home for weeks but were unable to find any evidence. K9 units and searches on foot and boat combed the rivers and ponds across an area stretching close to 70 miles with that house as its epicenter.
During the search, searchers found a scrap of material the same color as the skirt Savannah was wearing the night she disappeared. It was found in an area not far from the rural home and near one of many ponds in the stretch of countryside. It was sent off for forensic examination.
Police also released photos of the purse and cell phone she had on her at the time given neither have been found.
Her cell phone was switched off, or died, around 8am – five hours after she called her mother saying she would be back later that morning.
Police said the remains were discovered at an address belonging to the parents of one of the three men she was seen leaving the bar with in January
Spurlock, a mother of four, was last seen on surveillance video on January 4 after she left The Other Bar in Lexington with the three men – one of whom is David Sparks
Authorities said Spurlock was driven to the rural home in the back of a car with two of the men while another vehicle driven by the third man followed behind. Both cars were seized and examined by police as part of their investigation
Spurlock’s family have spoken out publicly several times since January 4 saying they believe the three men are not telling authorities everything they know and they must know where she is.
Her best friend Kala Hamblin told DailyMail.com in February that the night Spurlock disappeared was her first night out since giving birth.
She said Spurlock was by herself because she had argued with a mutual female friend that she had been out with that night.
Hamblin rejected the men’s claims that Spurlock walked out of the home.
‘I don’t believe it at all. I just do not believe that she walked out that door,’ she said.
‘She would have called one of us. She would have called her mom. She had on heels and a skirt and it was cold and she didn’t have a jacket.
‘She was on a country road where she has never been in her life. She would never walk on that.’
Hamblin said the surveillance video of Spurlock leaving the bar made her feel ‘sick to her stomach’ because she could see from her expression that something was wrong.
‘She was upset. I think she went with them because they said, “We’ll take you where you need to go, or to your car tonight or tomorrow or something.”
Spurlock (pictured left) gave birth to twins in December and she also has a four-year-old son, Noah, and a two-year-old son, Jace (pictured right)
Police released photos of Spurlock’s phone and bag in the weeks after she vanished. Her cell phone was switched off, or died, around 8am – five hours after she Face timed her mother saying she would be back later that morning
Officers also released images of the bag she was carrying on the night out in the hope that someone would have recognized it
She believes her friend put her trust in the wrong people given she was intoxicated and isolated in the moment.
In the months following her disappearance, Spurlock was trolled online by those critcising her for going out drinking while her newborn twins were being cared for by their father and her ex-boyfriend, Shaquille Smith.
Her other two children were being looked after by her mother Ellen.
Her father Cecil said that his daughter had been going through a ‘tough time’ around the time she vanished and that she had been making ‘horrible decisions’.
Court records showed that she had sought protective orders against both of her ex-boyfriends.
She was due to appear in court on January 7 on a DUI charge from 21 December and an ‘incident’ at the hospital following her twins’ births saw them temporarily handed into the care of their father.
Her friend admitted that Spurlock had struggled with the shock of giving birth to the twins and as a result they were primarily in the care of their father at the time she went missing.
She said Spurlock would never have walked away from her children though.
‘She would never have done that. She loves her friends, she loves her family. She’s a people dependent person,’ she said.
Spurlock was last seen on surveillance cameras leaving The Other Bar in Lexington, Kentucky with three men on January 4
Police found the human remains buried on the property just before midnight. They have not yet identified the remains but have sent them to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy and identification