By Mark E. Howerter
From "The Other Side"
Ranking right up there with the outrageous way that the government handled the Randy Weaver family and Barry Seal is another murder mystery. This one took place in 1987. Two seventeen year old boys were out hunting close to their home near Alexander, Arkansas. They never returned home alive.
A lot has been written about the two boys, Don Henry and Kevin Ives. The deaths were big news in Arkansas and still are the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation after all these years.
A northbound train was blazing along through the night full bore when the engineer spotted the bodies of two boys laying across the tracks. The train was not able to stop. The two deaths were reported as a double suicide even though the boys were happy, healthy and had never mentioned suicide before to anyone who knew them. Suicide was changed to accidental death by infamous Arkansas State Medical Examiner Dr. Fahmy Malak.
One of the boys' mothers, Linda Ives, has dedicated her life to finding out what really happened to her son, Kevin, ever since that hot August night in 1987. Mrs. Ives was able to get a grand jury to look at the case. They had the bodies exhumed and reviewed by Dr. Joseph Burton, chief medical examiner for Atlanta, Georgia.
The second autopsy showed that Kevin's skull had been crushed and that his friend Don had been stabbed in the back hours before the train ran over their bodies. A second grand jury concluded that both boys were obviously murdered and that their deaths were tied to the drug traffic in Saline County, Arkansas.
Days after the area had supposedly been scoured for evidence relatives found one of the boys' feet and some gold chains that the police didn't find. Dr. Malak's autopsy report didn't even mention that one of the boys had a foot missing. Much of the evidence surrounding the case wound up missing also, including crime scene photos.
Dr. Malak's rulings on mysterious deaths in Arkansas have come under close scrutiny many times. In May of 1992 the Los Angeles Times ran a cover story on Malak's incompetence as a medical examiner. The Times cited over 20 other cases that were grossly bungled. A 20/20 television special also covered the story.
Some of Malak's well known rulings include the 1985 murder of Raymond Albright who was shot 5 times with a Colt .45, which Malak ruled a suicide. In the case of James Milam, who was decapitated, Malak had ruled that the victim died of natural causes!
Didn't Malak answer to anybody? Yes. His boss was the head of the State Medical Commission, Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Dr. Elders answered directly to then-Governor Bill Clinton.
How could Bill Clinton have allowed such a bungler to continue in his position when there was a public outcry for his ouster? Good question. Bill Clinton's mother, Virginia Kelley, while working as a nurse anesthesiologist at a hospital in Hot Springs, made a mistake which resulted in a young woman's death. She had been undergoing minor surgery to repair an injury she sustained when a young man threw a rock at her.
Dr. Malak ignored the fact that it was the bungled anesthesia, not the rock, which killed her, and arrested the man who threw the rock! He spent 2 1/2 months in prison before it was straightened out. At the time of that young woman's death, Mrs. Kelley was already being sued for the death of another young woman who died because of her botched anesthesia. Fahmy Malak and Dr. Joycelyn Elders kept Gov. Clinton's mom out of trouble, and he took good care of them as long as he could in return.
So why were the two 17 year old boys killed? Another good question. There was an airstrip used by drug smugglers flying in from South America en route to Mena, Arkansas (remember Barry Seal?) to drop cocaine near where the boys were killed. Police Detective John Brown, of Saline County, Arkansas, was in charge of the official investigation for two years. Brown believes that the boys were at the wrong place at the wrong time and saw one of the drops.
There was one witness to the murders: Sharlene Wilson, who had been an informant for the DEA. She had been a witness for the Saline County Drug Task Force which was mysteriously shut down when it got a little too close to the truth. Much like Barry Seal, Sharlene Wilson was sold out and sent to prison, fearing for her life because of what she knows about the Arkansas drug traffic.
State Police Investigator Russell Welch from Mena, Arkansas, also verifies that the deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives were linked to the Mena drug traffic. One of his informants in prison had come forward with such information.
An eighteen-year-old also came forward in late 1993 claiming that he had also been in the woods and witnessed the murders when he was 12. Sharlene Wilson verified that other kids were in the woods the night of the murders, but that they got away. This aroused the interest of the FBI office in Little Rock, and they are currently still investigating it.
Detective John Brown has met with a pilot who used to make drops at the site where the boys were killed. It was known as "A-12" to the smugglers.
As his investigation took him closer to the truth, Detective Brown turned in his badge on August 16, 1994 out of fear. Brown claims that Saline County Sheriff Judy Pridgen was also scared to death by what he had uncovered and told him so. At their last meeting on August 15th, 1994, Sheriff Pridgen said, "We both know where this leads. Do you really want to take down the President of the United States?
John Brown's life has been threatened and his home ransacked and burglarized three times since his resignation, but his files were all handed over to the FBI before he resigned. Maybe this tragedy will end better than those of Barry Seal and Randy Weaver. We can always hope.
© 1995 Mark E. Howerter
The Other Side is available on the World Wide Web at
http://www.cris.com/~dhathaw/otherside/(NOTE: This site, including the image, is from the site at - http://www.parascope.com/mx/arkncide.htm .)
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