Cops Confirm Remains Found Are Missing Mom Savannah Spurlock; Suspect Arrested
Savannah Spurlock vanished in January; the body was reportedly found on property owned by the suspect's family.
LANCASTER, KY — The search for 22-year-old missing mom Savannah Spurlock led to the discovery of human remains followed by an arrest early Thursday morning, according to law enforcement.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said officers searched a property in Garrad County and discovered human remains. The property allegedly belongs to the family of a man who investigators say they questioned in connection with Spurlock’s disappearance on January 4, 2019. Purdy also said the man lives on the property.
David Sparks, 24, was reportedly charged with abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering about 2 A.M. on Thursday and then booked into the Madison County Jail.
According to the arrest citation, police received a call on Wednesday about a “foul odor” emanating from property owned by the Sparks family, where David Sparks allegedly lives. Investigators said they followed up with a search due to the fact that Sparks "is the primary suspect in a missing persons investigation.”
Officers reportedly searched this same property once before, on January 22, and towed away a car.
The citation reports that Kentucky State Troopers found human remains on the Sparks property, along with other pieces of evidence, including items that “were last known to be in the control of only two individuals, the missing person and [David Sparks].” Investigators said Sparks was one of the last people to be seen with Spurlock.
On the afternoon of Thursday, July 11, Trooper Purdy and other officials held a press conference and confirmed that, based on the autopsy of the remains, the body is that of Savannah Spurlock.
Even with this dramatic development, the disappearance of the mother-of-four remains shrouded in mystery, and her loved ones are still desperate to know what might have happened.
According to the Richmond Police Department, 22-year-old single mom Savannah Spurlock was last seen in the early hours of January 4, exiting The Other Bar in Lexington with three men she had just met several hours earlier.
Police said that a parking lot security camera captured their departure and shows Spurlock driving off in a car with two of the men, while the third follows in a pickup truck.
Prior to her disappearance, Spurlock is said to have attended college while raising two sons on her own, ages two and four. When she discovered she was pregnant in 2018, she reportedly moved back home with her mom. Just four weeks before she vanished, police said, Savannah gave birth to twins.
On the new Investigation Discovery digital series The Missing, Lisa Thoma, Spurlock's aunt, recalls the night her niece didn’t come home. She said, “Savannah had intended to go out and let loose. She had a friend over. They decided to drive from Richmond to another friend’s house in Lexington. From there, they took his car, and then the three of them drove to The Other Bar.”
Located about 30 miles away from Spurlock's home, The Other Bar is reportedly a popular college hangout near the University of Kentucky campus.
Thoma said that Ellen Spurlock, Savannah’s mom, awoke around 3 A.M. and saw that her daughter hadn’t returned yet, so she called her. According to Thoma, Savannah didn’t want to talk, but then shortly later, she Facetimed with her mom to say she was fine and that she’d be home within a couple of hours.
According to Thoma, Ellen noticed during the Facetime call that Savannah was in a car with two men, one whom was driving while the other was in the backseat. She allegedly described the sounds of “hollering” going on in the background. Ellen also reportedly didn’t recognize either of the men.
The next day, Thoma said, Ellen repeatedly tried calling Savannah when she still hadn't returned, but only got her voicemail before eventually alerting authorities that something seemed wrong. Savannah’s Facetime call remains the last evidence of her being alive.
Eighteen days later, investigators said they identified and interviewed the three men who allegedly appeared on the surveillance video outside The Other Bar. Detectives concluded that Spurlock was taken more than a half-hour’s drive away to a residence in Garrad County.
One of the men reportedly told detectives that when he woke up, Spurlock was gone. He allegedly theorized that she must have left on foot.
Reviewing the images on the surveillance video, Thoma said, “It doesn’t make any sense to me. She had on high heel shoes, no coat, and had no money. I just don’t think that’s what happened.”
Authorities said that, while they have proof that Spurlock was at the Garrad County house, they have found no evidence indicating how or if she ever left that location.
Thoma ends The Missing episode by stating, “Our plea is for someone to come forward with information. We need someone who knows something to tell the whole truth. This is a woman who is loved.”
Even now that her remains have been found, the investigation into the disappearance and death of Savannah Spurlock continues. In the press conference, Purdy said, "Over the coming days and weeks, there's going to be a lot of questions that we still have to answer."
Anyone with any information about Savannah Spurlock is urged to call the Richmond Police at (859) 623-8911.
For more on this case, watch the "Where is Savannah Spurlock?" episode of Investigation Discovery's The Missing on ID GO now!