Father says sheriff is 'no hero'
May 26—MOREHEAD — Recently obtained audio appears to capture the Rowan County Sheriff admitting to advocating for the release of a kidnapping/rape suspect.
"The sheriff's job is to uphold the law, not recommend he be let out. Everything is fishy to me," the father, who will remain anonymous within reports to protect the identity of the juvenile, said. "Matt Sparks is no hero."
Last week, Cameron Fultz, 24, of Morehead, was arrested and charged with kidnapping, third-degree rape and custodial interference, all felonies, after Sparks located a missing 14-year-old in Fultz's apartment.
Fultz was booked into Rowan County Detention Center, but was released on a $1,000 surety bond hours later.
The father of the victim said after the child was taken to St. Claire Hospital for a sexual assault kit, Sparks called him personally to tell him he called the judge to recommend Fultz be let out.
"I never got a call to let me know he got out and that I should be on alert. He called to inform me why he had called the judge," the father said.
The father of the victim provided a five-minute recording between himself and a man he claims is Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks.
Within the audio, appearing to originate from a phone number associated with the Rowan County Sheriff's Office, the caller outlined the steps he took to locate the juvenile after his office received a tip she was with Fultz.
The caller's explanation was corroborated within Fultz's arrest citation completed by an arresting officer with the Morehead Police Department. According to the citation and the phone call, Sparks was the one to drive to Fultz's address, found the juvenile and then drove her to meet a Carter County Sheriff's Deputy.
The caller said in the recording while he never knew Fultz prior to his interaction on May 18, he believed Fultz to have a cognitive issue.
"I was the one that called the judge and asked to get this boy out of jail and I'll tell you why," the caller said, "(Fultz) deserved to be bailed out because he's mentally — I won't say disabled ... he's not your average 24 year old."
The father briefly interjected, telling the caller Fultz was a referee in a local school system and was a volunteer fireman.
While a specific school system with connection to Fultz has yet to be verified, Fultz's arrest citation states he is employed by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and online information lists him as an official.
Fultz social media accounts also lists him as a former junior fireman with Salt Lick Fire and Rescue.
The caller initially said, "I'm surprised by that," but 31 seconds later, said, "I knew he was doing some officiating."
The caller said he believed Fultz would be found mentally incompetent due to his inability to "count money" and believed Fultz's parents had guardianship over him.
"I feel like for him to work for a fire department and hold a full-time job, he's competent enough," the child's father said. "To a call a game and referee a school game, you should know right from wrong."
Competency issues are generally addressed within a specialized hearing before a judge to determine whether a defendant understands the court proceedings and can aid in their own defense in order to stand trial.
With bond, a judge must take a defendant's charges, criminal history, flight risk and threat to community into consideration.
The Carter County Sheriff's Office referred all investigation-related questions to Morehead Police Department, who did not return a phone call to The Daily Independent as of press time, as the agency handling the allegations against Fultz.
Sparks did not return phone calls or respond via email to The Daily Independent as of press time Thursday.