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Around 4 AM of August 23, 1987, a mile long train was traveling down the tracks to Bryant, Kansas. The engineer, Stephen Shroyer, noticed something on the tracks covered in what looked to be a green tarp. He blew the train’s horn and began an emergency stop but it was far too late. Sadly, the train would run over the two boys and wouldn’t come to a full stop for another half mile. In a statement, Stephen said, “From the time that we had placed the train into an emergency position and laid down on the horn, I would estimate about three to five seconds to impact. And that may not sound like a very long period of time, but when you’re bearing down a couple of children, it’s an eternity, honestly.”
There were two boys under the green tarp; Don Henry, 16, and Kevin Ives, 17. The two are often described as best friends and were very popular in school. The two had been out hunting when they seemingly laid on the tracks. Don’s .22 caliber rifle was found lying beside the boys but the green tarp was said to have never been located. They were in their senior year when they passed away. An investigation into their deaths ruled it accidental. The reason for this ruling comes from the medical examiner, Dr. Fahmy Malak who claims the boys were under the influence of marijuana. His estimate claims the two had smoked at least 20 marijuana cigarettes and were in a drug-induced coma when the train made its way across the tracks.
But that wouldn’t have explained away the supposed tarp the boys were wrapped in. Secondly, the boy's parents said neither Don or Kevin were involved in drugs. The parents believe the boys were murdered. They cite many things in their statements that would raise suspicion. As we said, they believed neither the boys were using drugs. Secondly, the boys were laying in the exact position to one another and believed, that if they had gone to sleep, there was no way they could have slept through the horn of a train. Finally, Don’s rifle was found lying on the ground. According to his parent’s he would have never done this out of fear for scuffing it up.
Plagued by inconsistencies and wanting a more reasonable answer, they pried at the police for more information but the police would always say the case had been closed. Not long after the parents hired a private investigator who was met with similar resistance from the authorities. Five months later Don and Kevin’s parents held a press conference in hopes of having the case re-opened. The following day, it was.
The new investigation began with a second autopsy. The boys’ bodies, under the order of Prosecutor Richard Garret, were exhumed and examined leading to new, and more troubling conclusions. The boys had been under the influence but the estimate now was only two to three marijuana cigarettes instead of 20. As a matter of fact, the examiner stated that even if the boys had smoked 20 joints, they still would not have been in a drug-induced coma. As you may know, overdosing or even passing out because of THC, that active chemical in marijuana, is highly unlikely. Don and Kevin would need over 4,000 times the amount found in their system to pass out. Secondly, the examiner claimed one of them was already deceased when the train hit, and the other was unconscious. The original findings were reversed by a grand jury and the boys’ death was ruled as “probable homicides.” Once this was established, Richard Garret began putting all his focus on the green tarp that had never been found.
The engineer who claimed to have seen it in the first place says the police refuse to believe it was ever brought up. In a statement made on Unsolved Mysteries in 1988, he said, “That to me would be like questioning the existence of the boys on the track. Because what’s real is real and what’s not is not. And… it was there, as well as the boys.” The case would eventually be ruled as a definite homicide when an expert pathologist examined Don’s shirt and found multiple cuts that were believed to be stab wounds.
Robert Stack, the former host of Unsolved Mysteries, even made a statement on the case saying that the boys had “saw something they shouldn’t have seen and it had to do with drugs.” The grand jury echoed this but despite the announcement that Sherriff Steed refused to allow any more funds being poured into the investigation. Steed was on thin ice, however, as it came out that he hadn’t sent the clothes of the boys to the FBI as he claimed to. Instead, he sent them to the Arkansas State Crime Lab. Steed wouldn’t succeed in his running for re-election of a sheriff.
Now that he’d been put off the case, the focus went to that of drug trafficking and the boys’ seeing something by complete accident. It begins with more suspicious deaths. Firstly was Keith McKaskle. Keith was an informant for the lawyer of Don’s parents and not long after he was asked to take ariel photos of the scene, he was murdered. On the 22nd of January, 1989, a man named Greg Collins, who was planned to testify to the grand jury, was also killed. In March of that same year, another man was subpoenaed but he has gone missing. Finally, there was the case of Jeffrey Rhodes who was found in a landfill in April 1989. All the deaths were ruled as homicides and all are unsolved. The case of Don and Kevin is also still unsolved.
As far as suspects, there are a few but none that are definitive. One suspect came about just a week before the murders took place. A man in military fatigues was seen walking along the same tracks Don and Kevin were killed on. According to reports, his behavior caught the attention of an officer nearby so the officer approached him. When he did, the man opened fire before running off and disappearing. The night of the murder, some claim to have seen a man in military fatigues walking down a road only 200 yards from where Don and Kevin were found. Finally, some have said they witnessed the two boys being beaten and placed on the tracks by two other men, possibly police officers. One account also leads to a man named Dan Harmon, an attorney who was said to be seen at the scene. Sadly, none of this leads to anything that could help the case.
The most recent lead I can find online (keep in mind I’m writing this in January) is from a former wrestler, Billy Jack Haynes. Haynes claims that he was involved in the drug trafficking in Arkansas from the late 1970s to the ear
ly 1980s. He claimed in a videotaped statement that one of the men who gave him the cocaine to distribute had connections to the government. A man named Barry Seal supposedly introduced Haynes to what he refers to as “an Arkansas politician drug dealer.” This politician drug dealer would later ask him to kill David Kennedy; the son of Robert Kennedy, who of course, was John F. Kennedy’s brother.
Later in the video, he claims he was providing security at a drug drop where he witnessed the murder of Don and Kevin. He doesn’t state who killed the boys, and only states that “they were murdered by other individuals who were working for the same criminal politician.” He also had contact with the parents of Kevin and gave a statement to their private investigator. The remainder of the video, he cites the GoFundMe made for the boys. It's not clear if he was simply unaware of the name of the “criminal politician,” or if he's withholding information from investigators. Many believe, however, it had some kind of connection to Bill Clinton who was the governor of Arkansas when the supposed drug trade was taking place. Of course, this is all speculation, and I am in no way, claiming Clinton had anything to do with this.
If you have any information that you believe can help lead to the arrest of someone in this case, please call the Arkansas Police at 501-618-8000. You can also email them at [email protected] Thank you all for listening. Let’s hope that one day the boys’ and their parents will see justice. And as always… stay safe out there.