Before the Mena Connection was made
By Jean Duffey
Linda and I met for the first time in the summer of 1994, a few
months after the FBI opened its own investigation of the "train
deaths." By that time, we had individually experienced a total
of six shut-down investigations surrounding the deaths of Kevin and
Don. We were anxious to share our information with each other, with
the FBI, and with Saline County Detective John Brown.
Bill Clinton was President by this time, so there were numerous
investigative reporters snooping around Arkansas who were sniffing
out smelly affairs around the state - the "train deaths"
case was certainly one of them. These reporters were generous with
information they thought might be helpful to us, and it was the work
product of a reporter that indirectly made the first link to Mena
for me. The link was, however, based on information from an iffy
source, and I ordinarily might have filed the information away in my
interesting-but-not-reliable-or-relevant drawer. However, the minute
I heard this particular piece of information, it connected other
pieces I knew had a place in the big picture. Even though the
reporter had questions about the credibility of his source, common
sense and instinct distinguished his information as factual. It hit
me like a ton of bricks - all of a sudden, everything made sense.
From then on, Linda and I knew who and what we were dealing with,
which defined our course of actions from that point. But, before I
go further, I should lay out the facts we knew up to then.
Fact: Although Kevin and Don's murders were linked to
drugs early on, there was a tremendous amount of disinformation
being generated which investigators seized on, and the facts were
Expatiated: When my drug task force became operational in
mid-1990, Kevin and Don had been dead for two and a half years.
Scott, one of my officers, requested to open our own investigation
of the "train deaths," because he had developed
information causing him to believe it was drug-related. This was no
big revelation, since there were numerous reports in the state
police file of witnesses and informants linking the murders to
drugs. The reports, however, ranged from Kevin and Don being
dope-dealers themselves, to the boys simply being in the wrong place
at the wrong time. The information developed by Scott, early on,
pointed to the latter, and it later became apparent that there was a
lot of deliberate disinformation being generated. One thing was very
clear, however; where there was illegal drug activity in Saline
County, there was public official involvement and protection.
Fact: Kevin and Don's bodies were run over by a train
near where residents reported small, low-flying airplanes coming in
at slow speeds over the tracks in the middle of the night with their
lights off just prior to revving up and flying away. This evidence,
however, had been purged from every investigation, and a theory that
drugs were being dropped from trains was perpetuated.
Expatiated: Scott learned of the strange activity of low-flying
airplanes over the tracks in the vicinity of where Kevin and Don's
bodies were run over by the train. Scott obtained an aerial map and
traced out the route of these planes as they flew in at near
stall-speed from the west before revving back up and circling back
to leave in the same direction from which they had flown in. The
pattern was consistent and somewhat regular from what Scott could
Scott developed a theory that drugs were being dropped from
airplanes along the railroad tracks where Kevin and Don were run
over by the train, and the boys were murdered because the saw the
people who picked up the drop. Scott's theory conflicted with a
long-purported rumor that drugs were being dropped off of trains
coming up from Louisiana. Scott and I had no way of knowing it at
the time, but I realized years later the train-drop scenario was
perpetuated as disinformation to divert attention away from the
plane drops of drugs and money from the Mena operation. At the time,
though, it didn't seem important whether the drugs were being
dropped from trains coming up from the south or being dropped from
planes flying in from the west. The point we were trying to make was
Kevin and Don were murdered because they witnessed a drug drop that
had links to public officials. Scott and I didn't think the source
of the drugs altered the motive for murder, and we had no way of
knowing the source of the drugs altered the course of every
investigation into the murders of Kevin and Don.
Fact: Ignoring clear signs of murder, the state's medical
examiner, Fahmy Malak, ruled Kevin and Don's deaths were accidental.
The parents demanded second autopsies, and the ruling was changed to
homicide. Malak was exposed as an incompetent fool, yet Governor
Bill Clinton supported him, in spite of his being a political
Expatiated: Arkansas State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak performed
the first autopsies and ruled that Kevin and Don had fallen asleep
on the tracks in a psychedelic stupor after smoking massive amounts
of marijuana. Malak originally intended to rule the deaths a
suicide, but the sheriff warned against it, so without any
supporting evidence, Malak generated the marijuana-stupor scenario.
The parents demanded a second opinion and the bodies were exhumed.
An out-of-state team of forensic investigators agreed that the signs
of murder were clear, and the ruling was changed to homicide. Malak
was exposed as an incompetent fool and in spite of a public outcry
to have Malak removed from office, Governor Bill Clinton made
excuses for him. It became apparent that Malak was trying to prevent
the deaths from being investigated as murders, and although Malak
became a political liability, Clinton supported him and recommended
he be given a raise.
Fact: The initial investigation of the "train
deaths" by the sheriff's department was a deliberate bungle,
the subsequent county grand jury investigation was an orchestrated
cover-up, and the state police investigation file that is nothing
more than three-feet-high sham.
Expatiated: Against established police procedure and in spite of
statements from the train crew that should have aroused suspicion of
foul play, the sheriff's department worked the death scene as an
accident, and the evidence was not preserved properly. The back of
the train was used as a reference point for diagrams (useless when
the train pulled away), and the existence of a tarp that partially
covered the boys when they were hit was described by the sheriff as
an optical illusion. It is impossible to believe that such bungling
was anything but deliberate.
A special prosecutor, who was later linked to drug trafficking by
my task force, was appointed to head the county grand jury
investigation of the "train deaths." As the investigation
proceeded, several witnesses began turning up dead, and Linda later
realized the prosecutor had orchestrated at cover-up. Linda learned
later that eye witnesses placed him on the tracks with Kevin and Don
the night they were murdered.
The state police investigation was clearly a sham from the
beginning. Investigators ignored information in the second interview
conducted, which spelled out what fairly clearly why the boys were
murdered. Instead of following up on that information, investigators
went into every bizarre direction, and generated a nearly
three-foot-file that is nothing more than a sham.
Fact: My drug task force was dismantled and I was
professionally destroyed because my officers and I conducted
forthright investigations against local public officials. These
officials were protected by the media and by other influential
Expatiated: The very public officials my drug task force had
linked to drug trafficking had launched a smear campaign against me
and my task force. Even though their allegations against us were
unfounded, the news media brutalized us by reporting lies. We were
shut down before we were able to complete our investigations, but we
took all the files we had developed against public officials with us
when we left. Illegal felony warrants were issued for my arrest in
an attempt to obtain the files, but I refused to turn them over and
was portrayed as a felony fugitive by the media. The public
officials we investigated received support and protection from
powerful government officials, and no one in authority would take a
stand for me or my officers.
Fact: The very week my undercover officer and I took an
aerial map to U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks and shared our theory that
Kevin and Don were murdered because they saw a drug-drop from an
airplane coming in from the west, Banks began to dismantle the
Expatiated: Scott and I gathered up the information he had
developed, including the aerial map with the planes' flight pattern
mapped out, and went to the U.S. Attorney's office. We expected to
visited with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar, like we had done
more than a dozen times before, but this time we were ushered to the
office of U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks. Banks appeared to listen with
great interest as we spelled out Scott's theory, and he promised us
he would get federal authorities to pick up where we left off. Banks
promised, "if the train deaths case can be solved, I will see
to it that it is." He then promised to get Scott and me before
the grand jury with the information that we had just given him, as
well as with the information we had developed against public
officials. Neither happened.
Fact: After a two-year-long federal investigation where
grand jurors were unanimously ready to indict several Saline County
officials (all democrats) on drug-related charges, U.S. Attorney
Chuck Banks (a republican) cleared them all and was later nominated
for a federal judgeship possession by President George Bush.
Expatiated: By June of 1991, six investigations involving Saline
County and the "train deaths" had been thwarted. Linda and
I knew there was a mountain of evidence against several public
officials involved in illegal drug activity and connected to an
orchestrated cover-up of the Kevin and Don's murders. It was obvious
these public officials were being protected from the federal level,
but that made no sense at all. These public officials were all
democrats. Why would Chuck Banks, a republican-appointed U.S.
Attorney, shut down a federal investigation and send grand jurors
home without allowing them to indict several Saline County
democrats, which they were unanimously ready to do?
Four months before Banks held his press conference in June of
1991, clearing all Saline County public officials of any
wrong-doing, I was warned that he was going to do so. Chris Day, a
reporter for the Arkansas Gazette, told me Banks was going to shut
down the federal investigation in exchange for a federal judgeship
nomination. Chris wouldn't tell me his source, but the story was
just too ridiculous to believe anyway. Why would President George
Bush reward Chuck Banks with a judgeship nomination for protecting a
bunch of Saline County democrat officials?
Even though the signs of a shut-down became clear shortly after
Chris's warning, I refused to believe it was really going to happen.
When he did, I was stunned. Then, the following year, when Banks was
nominated to replace a federal judge from Little Rock, I was
stunned, confused, and frustrated - mainly confused because there
was no rhyme nor reason to Chris Day's prediction which came true.
(Banks was not confirmed before the 1992 elections, and his
nomination was withdrawn.) Nothing over the next three years made
any sense of it; I just knew something was very wrong with Chuck
It was not until a few months before I started working with the
FBI in March of 1994, that I put enough of the pieces together to
realize Banks ousted Bob Govar and took over the federal grand jury
investigation, so he could contrive a shut-down. I was, in fact,
persuaded to work with the FBI when an agent told me the Little Rock
FBI recommended Banks be charged with obstruction of justice for
shutting down the 1990 grand jury. However, I did not know why Banks
had apparently been rewarded for protecting Saline County officials,
until the spring of 1994.