Shortly after midnight on August 23, 1987, teenagers Kevin Ives and Don Henry set out to go night hunting in the wooded area near Don’s home in Bryant, Arkansas. Four hours later, they were discovered spread out over the railroad tracks near their home with a green tarp covering them. The engineer that noticed them was unable to stop his train in time to prevent running over them; he later rationalized that due to the noise of his oncoming train, that the boys had to have been dead and positioned on the tracks.
The local police suspiciously rushed to a solution in the case; first, they claimed that the green tarp covering their bodies did not exist, then they judged (based on a largely discredited medical examiner’s report) that the boys had passed out on the tracks after smoking large quantities of marijuana. Their families are convinced that they were murdered and that there was a police cover-up, possibly of a CIA operation. They were positioned in ways that it was impossible for someone under the influence of marijuana to end on. The bodies were lying between the tracks, with the gun lying next to the two boys on the left (so there was the two boys and then the gun, with the tarp covering them all).
A few months after the deaths, the boys’ parents held a press conference, and the case was reopened. A grand jury over-ruled the ruling of accidental death and changed their deaths to probable homicide. A new medical examiner report said that they had only smoked a small amount of marijuana prior to their deaths, making it unlikely that drugs caused them to be unconscious on the tracks. Prosecutor Richard Garrett found that a similar case occurred in Hodgen, Oklahoma, in which two young men were found lying on railroad tracks and ran over in 1984, positioned almost identically to the boys. However, police have found no suspects in their deaths.
One patrol officer reported seeing unidentified figure in military fatigues loitering in the area before the train ran over Kevin and Don. When the officer attempted to speak with the individual, he fired at the officer and fled the area. The man was never identified.
However, a local witness claims that he saw two police officers beating two boys senseless in a store parking lot before tossing them into a truck and driving away. It is unknown whether or not they were Kevin and Don. Theory is they might have accidentally observed a drug drop. In 1996, Linda Ives released the video, “Obstruction of Justice,” detailing the botched investigation and a cover-up of an alleged drug ring in Saline County. Several people have been implicated in this conspiracy which has involved numerous investigations and two grand juries.
Prosecutor Richard Garrett had another autopsy conducted on the victims; this report stated that there was evidence of stab wounds on Kevin’s shirt and that Don had apparently been struck in the head with a rifle butt. As a result, the investigation changed from probable homicide to definite homicide. Tips to the telecenter suggested that Don and Kevin were murdered by drug dealers, and that they may have stumbled onto them with the drugs. Garrett was later interviewed by Unsolved Mysteries host Robert Stack; Garrett claimed that there is drug trafficking throughout Bryant, Arkansas, that also is connected to several other states. He believes that the boys stumbled on a drug lab that manufactured methamphetamine and that they were killed as a result. He also suspects that there was some sort of police coverup involved in the case.
However, no suspects were ever named in the case. In 1995, the investigation into their murders was officially closed without their killer captured or identified. Don and Kevin’s families have conducted their own investigations and are still hoping that the case can be solved.