Saline County Sheriff James Steed never even pretended to be interested in leading a forthright investigation of the murders. He, in fact, had a conversation with Medical Examiner Famy Malak about an acceptable cause of death. Malak offered to rule the cause of deaths as suicides, but Steed told Malak that the families would never accept suicide and suggested that Malak rule the deaths accidental, which Malak did. There are many stories about Malak asking the law enforcement agencies what they would like his ruling to be, and he accommodated their requests.The below letter written by Linda Ives expresses her dissatisfaction with Steed and was the beginning of her 33 years of fighting law enforcement corruption. Steed had been sheriff for 11 years and was confident of his status, but he underestimated Linda Ives. She went to war, and Steed lost his next bid for reelection. Linda tells an encounter with Steed when she went to his office and was told to wait in the reception area. Steed’s door was open, and Linda could hear him talking on the phone. She waited as the personal chit chat continued for 10 minutes. Growing irritated, she got up and walked to his desk. He gave her a surprised look and said in a hateful tone, “I’m on the phone.” She pushed down the receiver button and said, “Not any more.” Linda jumped straight into her first involvement with any kind of political campaign, and Steed lost by a landslide.
Linda's Letter to Sheriff Steed
February 9, 1988
An Open Letter to Sheriff Steed
Sheriff Steed, you have stated that you are satisfied with the investigation your department has conducted in the death of my son, Kevin Ives, and his friend, Don Henry. You have also insinuated that our dissatisfaction with the investigation stems from the personal tragedy that we have suffered. I would like to point out to you, as well as the public, some of the reasons that we are dissatisfied.
(1) It is a fact that the area was never roped off as a “protected crime scene.”
(2) The area could not possibly have been searched thoroughly for evidence of a crime. After the investigation of the scene was completed, family and friends went to the area and found Kevin’s foot, the gun stock and other parts of the gun Don had, and other personal belongings, of the boys’. I consider this clear evidence of how well the area was searched.
(3) We were informed about reports that two people had heard gunshots shortly before the “accident.” Saline County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) assured us that tests would be done on the gun Don carried, but tests were never done.
(4) We were assured from the very beginning that SCSO would request assistance from the State Police. Colonel Goodwin informed me that a request was never received in his office. It is a fact that there is no State Police report of any kind filed on the “accident”.
(5) Three train crew members reported a green tarp partially covering the boys as they lay on the tracks. One of the crew saw where it landed and shined a light on it and informed SCSO where it was. SCSO assured us they would personally interview the train crew rather than rely on the railroad investigators report. That never happened either. They now tell us that this green tarp was an “optical illusion”.
(6) There was information given to SCSO that could have developed into a possible lead, but the informant was never contacted
(7) Don’s Stepmother found a partial bag of marijuana in Don’s jeans pocket on 2/5/88 — nearly six months after Don’s personal effects were returned to her. A SCSO deputy said they turned the boys’ clothes inside out, but somehow, they missed the bag of marijuana (evidence and contraband). What else was missed besides a foot and marijuana????
(8) The back of the train was used as a reference point for gathering evidence, so when the train pulled away, the reference point was lost forever.
These are just a few of the things regarding SCSO’s investigation that we are unhappy over — some things we know about. I shudder to think what we do not know about.
AND LAST OF ALL SHERIFF STEED, YOU HAVE NO FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF THIS INVESTIGATION THAT YOU ARE SO PROUD OF. YOU DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO GO DOWN TO THE SCENE NOR HAVE YOU EVER CONTACTED US PERSONALLY REGARDING THE DEATH OF OUR SONS.