Boys on the Tracks revisited

A witness has come forward to share what he says happened to Kevin Ives and Don Henry. Before hearing what he has to say, we take a look back at this three decades old case.


Around four in the morning on August 23rd, 1987, a Union Pacific train ran over the bodies of two teenage boys near Alexander.

The parents of Kevin Ives and Don Henry have never wavered in their belief that their sons were murdered.

Tonight, we take a look back on the case for those who don't know the story of "The Boys on the Tracks."

When the conductor saw the boys on the tracks, he slammed on the brakes and sounded the train's horn and whistle.

He reported seeing something strange: the boys never moved.

The state's medical examiner at the time, Fahmy Malak, had an explanation for that: the boys were high on marijuana and were unconscious after laying down on the tracks to sleep.

Malak determined their deaths to be an accident.

That explanation was good enough for Saline County Sheriff James Steed.

"We've done an extensive investigation and followed up on all these rumors and there is nothing to indicate to us in any way any kind of foul play," said Sheriff Steed shortly after the deaths.

But the families of 17 year-old Kevin Ives and 16 year-old Don Henry disagreed. So did experts from across the country.

So the bodies of the teens were exhumed and an Atlanta pathologist was hired to perform a second round of autopsies. Dr. Joe Burton found that the boys had very little marijuana in their systems.

He also found evidence of possible stab wounds and head trauma inflicted prior to the train strike.

A Saline County grand jury, led by deputy prosecuting attorney Richard Garrett and special prosecutor Dan Harmon, determined the teens were murdered.

"The manner and cause of death of Don Henry and Kevin Ives should be classified as a probable homicide," said Judge John Cole.

But no one was charged, and later the grand jury members voiced frustration over the lack of concern for the case by all law enforcement agencies.

Books were written and films were made that attempted to identify and assign motives to those who may have been involved.

Two police officers, Kirk Lane and Jay Campbell, sued after being mentioned as suspects. Ultimately, they lost their defamation claims.

"They don't have any eye-witnesses. Obviously, if there was an eye-witness, someone would be arrested right now," said a defense attorney for the law enforcement officers at the time of their defamation suit.

Well, two months ago, a man who says he is an eye-witness traveled to Arkansas to confess his involvement and to apologize to Linda Ives.

We'll share what he says happened Thursday night at 10 pm.

Dan Harmon, the former prosecutor, and Jay Campbell, the former law enforcement officer, did later go to prison following drug-related convictions.

Air date: February 14th, 2018

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