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Over 30 years later, 'Boys on the Tracks' mystery still haunts small Arkansas town

Whatever happened in the woods that 1987 night with Larry Kevin Ives and Don Henry is still unknown.

BRYANT, Ark. — Larry Kevin Ives and Don Henry liked to hunt, especially at night.

On Aug. 23, 1987, the two Arkansas teenagers headed out to go hunting around midnight.

Whatever happened in the woods that night is still a mystery. What we do know is that a cargo train was making its usual run to Little Rock and around 4 a.m. when the engineer spotted something on the tracks. They were lying side by side on the tracks covered with a tarp. The train was unable to stop and the two boys were dragged for nearly a mile. The tarp was never found. And Kevin and Don were killed. 

An initial autopsy determined that the boys had smoked a large amount of marijuana and were simply incapacitated. It was an accident, or possibly suicide.

The boys’ parents refused to believe that report, and after two more autopsies, the report changed. Now, the cause of death was homicide.

Over time, the investigation delved into a variety of theories. It was thought that perhaps the boys had witnessed something they shouldn’t have. Perhaps it was something to do with a drug drop. The cocaine trade already had ties to nearby Mena, Arkansas.

Rumors intensified and over time conspiracy theories were rampant. Drugs, cartels, political corruption and missing case files all played into the murders, and years later the prosecutor in the case was convicted of crimes including racketeering, extortion and drug possession.

At least one person has come forward in recent years claiming to have witnessed the boys’ murders, but there’s no official confirmation that his claims are true.

RELATED: Former wrestler claims he witnessed murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives

True Crime Chronicles, a new weekly podcast from VAULT Studios, is taking another look at the twists and turns of the case. Hosts Will Johnson and Jessica Noll spoke to THV11 anchor Dawn Scott.

“This is my hometown. Everyone knew about it. Everyone had heard about it. And I of course was a teenager, didn’t know what to think. Just knew that it was awful,” she said.

Lt. Mike Frost with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department says, “There’re not a whole lot of leads.”

Today, the mystery of the boys on the track is still unsolved.

You can download and subscribe to True Crime Chronicles on any podcast platform, including Google PlaySpotifyStitcher and Apple Podcasts.