Circumstances of Death
Special Agents William Lamar Polk, Lee Russell, Jr., F. D. Shanks and G. W. Rainer traveled to Holmes County, Mississippi to investigate a possible illicit distillery nine miles outside of Lexington. Agents Polk and Rainer approached the suspected location on foot while the other two agents drove up to the farm house. At the farm house, the agents observed a suspect come out of the woods who "reeked of whiskey mash." The man quickly confessed to operating a still and was arrested. He then led agents back to the still, where they met Agents Polk and Rainer.
Agent Polk advised that he was suffering from chest pains and was taken by car to a doctor in Lexington. Shortly thereafter, he suffered a fatal heart attack. The unusual high heat of the day and Agent Polk's long and irregular work hours over the past several months, under adverse temperature and conditions, were all considered contributing factors to his death.
Agent Polk joined the Alcohol Tax Unit on June 15, 1944. He served in offices at Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi. Previously, he served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal for two years.
Agent Polk was born in Mt. Olive, Mississippi. He was survived by his wife, Evelyn and their children, William Jr., Mary Hollie and Gwendolyn. Agent Polk is buried in Jackson, Mississippi.