2021-09-13 03:58:28 UTC
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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Linda Kay Ives, a Benton woman who sought answers for decades in the mysterious death of her son Kevin and another boy, has died at age 71.
An Ashby Funeral Home obituary says that Ives died on June 3.
Ives' son was 17 years old and his friend Don Henry was 16 years old when their bodies were found on a railroad track in Saline County in August of 1987. The medical examiner at the time ruled the deaths as accidental, claiming that the two teens had smoked so much marijuana that they had fallen asleep on the tracks. Other medical experts from around the country objected and came to the conclusion that the boys were likely murdered.
Linda Ives sued in 2016 to obtain records from three federal agencies about the deaths. She believe the deaths could have been related to a drug trafficking ring involving famed Arkansas drug smuggler Barry Seals.
A judge later said that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration needed to disclose parts of the files to satisfy Ives' request. But Ives and her then-attorney didn't find anything related to the boys' deaths.
A man came forward in 2017 with claims that he witnessed the boys' deaths. Billy Jack Haynes, a former professional wrestler, said in a video that the railroad track was being used as a drop location for drug smugglers. Haynes claimed that the boys were there during a drug drop. He said other people killed the boys and he helped place their bodies on the railroad track.
Haynes' account of the boys' deaths is one of several involving drug trafficking that remain unproven. No charges have been filed in the boys' deaths, which came to be known as the "Boys on the Tracks" case.
"I don't know that there will ever be any justice here on earth,” Ives said in an interview in 2018. “But you have to keep trying. You know they would like for you to think that this case is just old and complicated and there isn't any way to solve it. But that's not true. That is not true. This case is solvable."
Ives is survived by her husband of 54 years, Larry, and her daughter, Alicia Ives.
Alicia Ives wrote on Facebook, "The world has lost a bright light. She was a precious mother, wife, daughter, sister, family member, friend and a great inspiration to many. Her determination and iron will have left an indelible mark and moved mountains. Now she rests peacefully in the arms of Jesus."
The Associated Press contributed information to this report.