Once featured on Unsolved Mysteries, a story that seems impossible to believe. One that involves drug smuggling, dirty cops, and crooked political officials. Don Henry and Kevin Ives lost their lives because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In Saline County Arkansas on August 23 1987, Kevin Ives and Don Henry went night hunting to never return. The remains of the boys were found on the train tracks just hours later. The local coroner, Dr. Malak ruled the cause of death as accidental. Stating that the boys had smoked over 20 marijuana cigarettes and fell asleep on the tracks.
Their parents never stopped fighting for the truth. They were met with resistance upon every turn. Which made their battle that much more difficult. Multiple pathologists were consulted and examined the evidence and another autopsy was eventually performed and said pathologist found Dr. Malak’s conclusions as he put it, bizarre. In 1988 the cause of death was overturned. After it was determine that Ives had his head bashed in and Henry was stabbed in the back prior to being placed on the railroad tracks. Dr. Joseph Burton performed the 2nd autopsy. He found during the autopsies of the boys that Doctor Malik had mutilated Ives’ skull which made it difficult to determine where the original skull fractures were. He had also completely dismantled Ives’ jaw bones. Dr. Burton is quoted as saying, “I have performed thousands of autopsies and have never seen anything like this.” I feel it is important to mention that Dr. Malak had many unusual rulings in regards to cause of death on multiple cases. One case-a man was found decapitated and his cause of death was listed as an ulcer. So, do I need to say anything more about Dr. Malak?
A Grand Jury investigation into their deaths was held. It was determined that the boys likely witnessed an airplane drug drop and it resulted in their murder. Though the remaining details of the Grand Jury was sealed and kept off the record.
Witnesses were dropping like flies.
Note: This is not a complete list.
Keith McKaskle, Asked to take Aerial Photographs of the scene and later accused by multiple independent witnesses as being present when boys were killed-butchered
Greg Collins, Subpoenaed Grand Jury Witness -3 gunshot blasts to the face
Keith Coney, Subpoenaed Grand Jury Witness that professed to being present when his two friends, Ives and Henry were murdered. -Motorcycle Accident while allegedly fleeing attackers that had cut his throat. Some officers allegedly reported his throat was slashed which was withheld from the autopsy report.
Daniel Beardon, Subpoenaed Grand Jury Witness-Disappeared
Jeffrey Edward Rhodes, Supposed connection to the case-Body found in a land fill shot in the head and set on fire.
These deaths were ruled homicides in 1990 but no arrests were ever made. With exception to the butchering of McKaskle. His mentally impaired, neighbor was accused of the crime. Which seems unlikely as McKaskle was a very large and strong man; by all accounts he would have been easily able to fight off his much smaller neighbor. Needless to say the charges never stuck.
In 2016 Linda Ives filed a lawsuit citing a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. A federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security, DEA and the Executive Office of U.S. Attorney to turn over redacted documents for private review. The same judge dismissed other agencies from the lawsuit. In 2019 the lawsuit was dismissed. A witness came forward providing testimony that the boys were killed due to witnessing a drug drop. Which was substantiated in the Grand Jury hearing. This witness is a former WWF wrestler, Billy Jack Haynes. He has also allegedly implicated many individuals that remain nameless publicly. Haynes worked as an enforcer to make extra money to feed his habit. Haynes however, is known to create far fetched stories. There’s no evidence supporting his claims. Many of the officials he accused have since been convicted of unrelated drug crimes or murdered. Little Rock attorney, David Lewis says that the information provided by Haynes does fit with the evidence of the case. He is however, a less than credible source in my opinion.
That being said, let’s talk a bit about Jean Duffy. A more than credible source. After the the murders, Jean Duffy was appointed the head of a drug task force in Arkansas. She was told by her supervisor, Gary Arnold on her first day, that she was not allowed to investigate anything pertaining to any public officials. Almost immediately she discovered many public officials involved in drug dealing. She had to keep her findings to herself with the warning she was given day one. Plus who could she trust? She took her findings to Bob Govar. Govar was assigned to head the Federal Organized Drug and Organized Crime Task Force by U. S. Attorney *Chuck Banks. (*Remember that name).
Three years had passed since the murders. Little did she know her task force was about to be shut down. One of her officers came to her, wanting to investigate the murders. Duffy agreed and took her information to Govar. She tried to do the right thing and suffered for it. Her name was ran through the mud and she was ran out of town. Prosecutor Dan Harmon was the mud slinger aiming for Duffy.
Dan Harmon was the Ives and Henry Grand Jury prosecutor. He was also a drug trafficker. Yup you read that right. He made sure he was assigned the case. Giving him access to everything. Of course he wasn’t known to be a drug trafficker at that time. Jean Duffy never stood a chance. Not with her own people involved in the corruption. Harmon had successfully dismantled her reputation with the help of the press and his clout. She was not fired due to any of the allegations made by Harmon. She was fired due to bad publicity and it made her ineffective according to her superiors. Duffy and her family had moved out of state waiting for the Federal Grand Jury decision into corrupt officials including Harmon. But it was dismissed. U. S. Attorney *Chuck Banks held a press conference clearing all Saline County officials. Stating it was the decision of the Grand Jury. But reports indicate it was shut down prior to voting. At which time all hope to clear her name was gone. Her family endured death threats, her children were followed. Her life was never the same. Shortly after her family moved to Texas.
In the mid 90s Harmon’s ways caught up to him. But not before he had time to destroy the lives of anyone that could link him to the murders of Ives and Henry. The Harmon criminal investigation perimeters were limited to only a specific time frame. Which excluded the murders of Ives and Henry. He got off easy considering.
Drug smuggler and pilot, Barry Seal was linked to the local drug drops. The movie, American Made starring Tom Cruise is loosely based on Seal and his dealings. He allegedly worked for both Pablo Escobar and the CIA. In 1986 he was gunned down after turning informant. This was the year prior to the murders of Ives and Henry. Which means someone else was continuing the drug drops.
Many individuals involved have been forever silenced or blackballed and some allegedly set up and now serving lengthy prison sentences. For years the residents complained about low flying planes in the area. Rumors of drug drops were rampant. Over the years many individuals substantiated those rumors.
There’s no doubt that the corruption was wide spread and high up the food chain. For thirty plus years these families have tried to find justice. To find the truth. I believe they found the truth. Justice however, will never be served.