Keynote speaker killed at Elvis Conference
Sunday, January 6, 2013
By Kelly Shackleton
Tragedy struck the Yoknapatawpha County Convention Center (YCCC) this morning when the body of Jared Plunk, 41, of Oxford, was discovered by a hotel employee. Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones said YCCC Accommodation Manager, Yvonne Boyd, called 911 after making the horrific discovery just after 6:00 a.m.
The apparent victim of foul play, Plunk was found outside of the YCCC's fitness center, but investigators declined to release any additional details pending further investigation.
"It's still very early in our investigation," Jones stated, "but it appears that Mr. Plunk was brutally attacked outside of the fitness center. The fitness center does not open until 8:00 a.m., so it is unclear at this time why Mr. Plunk was outside of the center, but we are pursuing several leads."
Plunk, a freelance journalist, was scheduled as keynote speaker at a convention for Elvis Presley fans being held at the conference center this weekend in conjunction with Presley's birthday this Tuesday. The convention was to be the first of what organizers hoped would be an annual event.
"We've invested everything we have into getting this conference together," said Lindsey Snyder, wife of the conference organizer, Max Snyder, "and it's certain to be a magnificent event."
Mrs. Snyder went on to say that she hoped that the tragic death of Jared Plunk wouldn't discourage the attendance of potential conference-goers. "Jared was looking forward to speaking to so many Elvis fans, and I know he'd want us to continue our celebration of the King's memory."
Plunk was named keynote speaker when organizers learned that he recently uncovered some letters that he claimed were written by Elvis Presley. Sources say that, in addition to speaking at the conference, Plunk was also planning to write a book about Presley's life and the letters. The Oxford conference is just one in a series of events in the region honoring the birthday of "The King of Rock 'n' Roll."
"I drove 50 miles this past June to attend the Elvis Presley Festival in Tupelo," said Oxford resident Joe Hunter, "so I was thrilled when I learned that there was going to be a gathering of fellow fans right here in my own backyard."
Mr. Hunter said that he didn't know Jared Plunk, but like many of the people attending the conference, had been looking forward to hearing Plunk's speech. Hunter is just one of many avid fans, most dressed in costumes fit for "The King," that have arrived at the YCCC for the event.
Not everyone attending the conference center is a fan, however. One man, who declined to give his name, commented, "the obsession that these people have with Elvis is disgusting. How many more lives must be lost before this obscene hero-worship ends?"
Elvis enthusiast Sonya Davis described Plunk as a brilliant writer and shrewd businessman. "Mr. Plunk's death is a terrible shock. It's frightening that something so monstrous could happen so close to home."
Jared Plunk is survived by his wife, Allison Plunk, who was not available for comment.