A young mother of four, Savannah Spurlock, vanished in January after leaving a Kentucky bar with three men in what was her first night out following the birth of her twins.
In July, police confirmed her remains had been found at a farm in Garrard County and an arrest was made.
Below is a timeline of the investigation so far:
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019
Spurlock spent the day at home with her mother in Richmond before deciding to go out with a friend. A newly minted mother of four, it was Spurlock’s first time going out in a quite some time.
Spurlock, then 22, had given birth to her two youngest children in December.
“I thought she needed a little break,” her mother, Ellen Spurlock, later told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “She hadn’t done anything for months since she just had the twins.”
She and a friend went to Lexington about 10 p.m., but her friend left after the pair got into an argument, according to Savannah's mother.
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019
Ellen said she last heard from her daughter when they spoke over video about 2:30 a.m.
“She FaceTimed me … and she said ‘Everything is fine. I’m just having fun with friends. I promise I will be home later this morning,’” Ellen told the Herald-Leader.
Savannah had not been heard from since and her phone was no longer on by 8:30 a.m. that day.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019
Richmond Police put out their first post about Savannah, appealing to the public for help in finding men with whom they said she was seen leaving The Other Bar in Lexington.
“Savannah was last seen leaving the bar with an unknown black male and an unknown white male,” police said. “The Richmond Police Department is seeking the identity and whereabouts of these two individuals. The white male was seen leaving the area in a black, Chevy S-10 pickup.”
Police shared photos taken from surveillance footage they said showed Savannah with two men in a parking garage. Authorities also noted Savannah was last seen wearing a black sleeveless top, a maroon skirt and high heels.
Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019
Worried loved ones spent the day searching for Savannah, who they said would never leave her children.
“It’s been 11 days now,” her mother said at the time. “I’m lost.”
As friends and family struggled to remain calm, they also struggled with what to tell Savannah’s eldest child, who had become increasingly concerned about his mother’s whereabouts.
“He doesn't know what's going on, but my fear is how long can that take place, you know?” Ellen said of one of her grandchildren to WKYT-TV. “He saw her on TV one night and said, 'Mommy.' He misses her."
In addition to her newborn twins, Savannah is the mother of two sons, ages 4 and 2.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019
Savannah’s family took to social media to share their gratitude for the outpouring of support they received and to appeal to the public for their help.
“This person who is someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, someone’s sister, someone’s niece, someone’s best friend,” Lisa Thoma, Savannah’s aunt, said in a video posted to the Missing Savannah Facebook page.
“Waiting is hard, not knowing answers to questions is hard … when you’re living it and breathing it, it can be crippling,” she said. “If you know anything, we beg you, come forward and call the Richmond, Kentucky Police department. If you heard something, if you saw something, I don’t care how small it was — what if that one thing is the piece of the puzzle that they’re missing? What if you hold the key to bringing her home?”
Monday, Jan. 21, 2019
Savannah's mother spoke out to denounce opportunists trying to take advantage of her family during their crises. She told WLEX-TV she received messages from people claiming to have information about her daughter that they would release for a fee.
“Send us 8 Bitcoin to below address. Now be smart or never see her again,” one message read. “You have 12 hours.”
Others asked Ellen for Amazon gift cards to feed her daughter, whom they claimed they were starving. “I don’t understand why people could be so cruel at a time like this,” Ellen said.
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019
By Tuesday, police had located the two men pictured with Savannah, as well as a third man they said left the bar with the group Jan. 4.
Law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at a home in Garrard County belonging to the parents of one of the men allegedly in the surveillance footage with Savannah, WLEX-TV reported. Investigators also seized a vehicle from the property.
The search for Savannah has included Madison, Garrard, Lincoln and Fayette counties, officials said. The vehicle Savannah drove to Lexington was located in the area the weekend after she went missing, Ellen said on Facebook.
Monday, Jan. 28, 2019
Police announced they had identified and questioned the three men last seen with.
“No one has been charged with any criminal offense at this time,” Richmond police said in a statement. “We are continuing our search for Savannah and appreciate everything the public and the media have done to assist in our efforts. There are many people, organizations, and volunteers that have assisted us over the past few weeks and for that we are thankful. Finding Savannah continues to be a top priority.”
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019
The Cajun Coast Search and Rescue Team announced it would travel to Kentucky to aid in the search for Savannah. The specialized K-9 unit that works on missing persons cases across the nation.
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019
The Cajun Coast Search and Rescue Team took to social media about its involvement in the search.
“We continue to pray and search for [Savannah],” they wrote. “Our team is still very active, we won't stop until this beautiful lady is home. Say a prayer please.”
They had previously noted they had covered miles of land in search of Savannah, but had so far found nothing.
Monday, Feb. 4, 2019
Authorities said they were able to confirm Savannah had been taken to a home of one of the three men with whom she was seen leaving a bar.
Richmond Police Lt. Col. Rodney Richardson told Fox News police confirmed Savannah traveled about 40 miles to a home in a rural part of Garrard County after leaving the Other Bar in Lexington.
“They did not know Savannah prior to meeting her at the bar,” he said.
She rode in the backseat of a vehicle with two of the men, while the third followed them in a separate vehicle, Fox News reported.
Both vehicles have undergone forensic testing, but authorities do not plan to release their findings.
One of the men with whom Savannah was last seen told police she left the home “later that morning,” but did not specify how she left. Police said they have been unable to confirm his account.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
On what should have been a day to celebrate Savannah’s 23rd birthday, searchers took to corn fields and a bridge to scour for clues that may lead them to the missing woman.
"It’s another important day that she’s not here for," Savannah's uncle Mark Thoma told The Courier Journal. "Her absence is that much more obvious."
The team was comprised of volunteer K-9 units and family friends, including several former Marines.
Monday, Feb. 11, 2019
Savannah's oldest child still isn't aware that his mother is missing, her father told Fox News.
For the nearly two months Cecil Spurlock, 54, has been taking care of Savannah's 4-year-old son, he has resolved remain strong and not let his grandson see him upset.
"I’ve got to maintain because I’ve got a little boy that doesn’t know about his mom yet,” Spurlock told the News. "He’s a super happy boy. I’ve got to maintain around him. I can’t lose it. He actually helps me.”
He said his daughter was "making horrible decisions" around the time of her disappearance, but he believed she would get back on the right path.
"That’s my girl,” he said. “Outgoing, kind and loving.”
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019
The Cajun Coast Search and Rescue Team announced it would be leaving the state.
"Unfortunately our time here in Kentucky has come to an end," Commander Toney Wade said ahead of their departure.
Adverse weather conditions made it difficult for searchers to traverse the area while looking for Savannah and after two weeks away from home, they regrettably had to call their efforts off, he said.
Savannah is 5 feet tall, weighs 140 pounds and has brown eyes, shoulder-length brownish blond hair and multiple tattoos, including a rose on her left shoulder. Her tattoos also include “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” on the right side of her midsection and “I’m her daughter” on her back. She was last seen wearing a black sleeveless top, a maroon skirt and high heels.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Savannah's aunt spoke to InsideEdition.com to plead for more information about her beloved niece.
“She’s worthy of being found,” Lisa Thoma said. “She’s worthy.”
Thoma runs the Missing Savannah Spurlock Facebook page from Ohio.
“We’ve had so much support from strangers from all over the world that are praying for us, but also from these other families that are going through the same thing,” Thoma said. “How eye-opening this has been to the general problem of missing people.”
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Just before midnight, authorities found human remains in connection with the case in a Garrard County home.
Police charged David Sparks, 24, with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.
Authorities searched the home in January after it was identified as the last place Spurlock had been, police said. They searched the house again after a neighbor complained of a foul odor, WKYT reported. Police said they then found the remains and other items, which belonged to Spurlock, on the property.
Thursday, July 11, 2019
At a press conference, Kentucky State Police confirmed the remains belonged to Savannah Spurlock.
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Savannah Spurlock," said Robert Purdy, public affairs officer.
The investigation is continuing.
Monday, July 15, 2019
David Sparks appeared in court for a probable cause hearing, where a detective revealed shocking details about the case.
The detective said Spurlock went to Sparks' home on the night she vanished. The two other men left the home and Spurlock slept in Sparks' bed and he slept on the couch, the detective said, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
The next day, Spurlock woke Sparks and asked for his address, apparently so she could get a ride, and after he gave it to her, he said he went back to sleep, the detective said. When Sparks woke up, Spurlock was no longer at the home, WKYT reported.
The court also heard how Spurlock's body was found with a rug and garbage bags. On the day Spurlock vanished, Sparks had texted his sister to ask where she'd bought a rug because he was looking to buy one, the detective said in court.
Authorities also said they found blood in the bedroom closet in Sparks' home that matches Spurlock's DNA.
The Garrard County judge found probable cause for the case to move to a grand jury. Sparks, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held without bond.
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020
David Sparks pleaded guilty to murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence. He was recommended a 50-year sentence.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Richmond Police Department at 859-624-4776 or email@example.com.