Date: February 1, 1996
To : The Benton Courier
From: Linda Ives
Yesterday, the Benton Courier published an article with various quotes from I.C. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Little Rock, in reference to their investigation of my son's murder. Amazingly, the Courier did not bother to contact me to ask my response to being called a liar. I feel I am entitled to that response:
COURIER: "An FBI investigation into the deaths nine years ago of two Saline County teenage boys hasn't been officially ruled out according to the state's leading FBI agent."
IVES : The FBI has been investigating this case since December, 1993 when a witness who was on the scene the night of the murders came forward. The FBI officially opened their case in February, 1994.
COURIER: He (Smith) said he believes Duffey was mistaken when she said in a recent Little Rock radio station interview that the Bureau participated in a coverup . . ."
IVES: The FBI worked the case for 18 months with agent Phyllis Cournan assigned to it. Cournan's supervisor is Al Finch. Finch assured me on February 28th and again on March 1st, 1994 that the case would be solved by the end of the year. I assumed Finch's confidence in the case stemmed from the testimony of the witness who had come forward and other corroborating witnesses'information which I was aware of.
Cournan assured me over and over that progress was being made and that the investigation was progressing very well. They know who the killers are. They know who orchestrated and participated in the coverup - a list which includes county, state and federal officials. I was told that the only ones failing polygraphs were cops.
And then suddenly, on November 29, 1995, I was told by Bill Temple, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, that it's time for me to realize that a crime was never committed.
A logical person could not come to any other conclusion except that the FBI is participating in a coverup.
COURIER: "Smith said Temple is a caring individual who has been very concerned because he has been so badly misquoted."
"Smith said the meeting between Temple and Linda Ives took place in Smith's office. Smith said he was not there at the time, but that he is convinced Temple said nothing to Ives in such a cold hearted manner."
"Smith said . . . . both he and Temple have great empathy for the families . . . ."
IVES: I stand by the quote attributed to Temple and there are other witnesses to his statement. Temple's concern and discomfort stems from the fact that he was quoted, not misquoted. As Smith stated, he was not there. He did not even bother to contact me or my husband to ask about the "cold hearted" statement. They show their "empathy" for me by adding insult to injury by calling me a liar. I believe Temple needs to "fess up" to his boss and they both owe me a public apology.
COURIER: "Smith said there still remains some doubt as to the cause of death . . ."
IVES: Dr. Joseph Burton has stated that he and two other nationally known forensic pathologists as well as 7 forensic investigators with a total of 100 years accumulative experience had examined the evidence in this case and that it was unquestionably the opinion of all of them that Kevin and Don were murdered. A copy of page 24 of Dr. Burton's autopsy report is attached.
As far as Smith's insinuation that they may not have a case because there is some doubt about the cause of death, they can double talk all they want. The important fact is: There are two dead children and the manner of death is murder. What are they going to do about it?
COURIER: "Smith noted that the FBI's main obstacle is the very real problem of determining whether federal jurisdiction would apply. That would be decided by Paula Casey's office."
"Casey said any decision would likely be the outcome of a joint investigation by both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office."
IVES: Al Finch discussed the issue and criteria for jurisdiction with the U.S. Attorney's office before they officially opened their case in February 1994 and discussed that matter with John Brown, former Saline County investigator. Their jurisdiction is in the area of public official involvement and / or interstate drug trafficking. The U.S. Attorney's office spent 2 years in 1989 and 1990 investigating the case before Chuck Banks shut it down in 1991, and the FBI has spent a year and a half on this latest investigation. It is ludicrous for anyone to believe that the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's office would work a case for years without knowing whether or not they have jurisdiction.
COURIER: "He also said that the drug runners scenario was widely talked about by one lawman in particular. He only perpetuated the rumor and did nothing official to get at the truth."
"If any lawman has knowledge of a crime, especially one as serious as murder, he is being negligent of his duties not to pursue it in an official, professional manner, Smith said."
IVES: I am quite certain that Smith is referring to John Brown, former Saline County sheriff's office investigator who spent a year and a half of his life working this case. Brown developed significant evidence in the case despite interference from state police officials and from the drug Czar (Robert Shepherd). When a witness on the scene came forward supporting evidence Brown already had, he went to the FBI to request their assistance. They took "control" of the case and instructed Brown to turn over all of the evidence in the case to the FBI, which he did. Judy Pridgen pulled John Brown off the case and he resigned from Saline County Sheriff's Office.
So, in my opinion, the only persons who now appear negligent in their duties, is the FBI.
COURIER: "Smith said there may be some foul play involved in the deaths of those boys, and I would be willing to meet personally with Mrs. Ives and discuss the case.
IVES: When I asked for a meeting with FBI officials in November, my initial request was to meet with Smith, but I was told it should be with his assistant, Temple. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with Smith.
COURIER: Evidence "would be kept in storage until a legal decision is reached on how the matter is to be pursued."
"Unless and until an official declaration of the causes of death can be made, the matter will continue to be subject to conjecture."
"Even if the deaths are shown to be homicides he said that - in and of itself - would not mean that federal intervention is warranted."
IVES: According to Temple, a summary of the case with a request for advice was sent to Paula Casey's office in July, 1995. That was 7 months ago. How long does it take to get a response from the U.S. Attorney's office? Temple said he didn't know.
As to how the case is to be pursued, Temple and Cournan told me that when the file is closed, it could be FOI'd. I can only assume from that statement the FBI has no intention of pursuing the murderers of my child.