The Secret Sits

The Boys on the Tracks: Part 2

December 22, 2022 John W. Dodson Season 2 Episode 40
The Secret Sits
The Boys on the Tracks: Part 2
The Secret Sits +
Help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere.
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript

Get 20% OFF @manscaped + Free Shipping with promo code SECRETSITS at! #ad #manscapedpod

This is Part 2 of: The Boys on the Tracks, those boys were Don Henry and Kevin Ives, and these two boys’ untimely deaths would set off some of the craziest conspiracies and investigations in Arkansas’s history.

Follow us on our social media at:

TheSecretSitsPodcast (@secretsitspod) / Twitter

Support the show

Follow: Read by Daylight - Here -

#DonHenry #KevinIves #UnsolvedMysteries #Train #Arkansas #BillClinton #LindaIves #FahmyMalak #THC #DanHarmon #RichardGarrett #TomCruise #AmericanMade #MedelinCartel #BarrySeal #Colombia #FBI #MANSCAPED #Podcast #TrueCrime

Support the show

Start of Episode 2: The Boys on the Tracks

 [Underscore Music]

Previously on The Secret Sits, we began exploring the murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, the boys on the tracks, this case set off some of the craziest investigations and conspiracies in Arkansas’ history.  The story is only going to get crazier, are you ready, here we go.

[Theme Music Start]

Welcome to The Secret Sits, I’m your host John Dodson.  Join us every Thursday as we uncover the Secrets behind the world’s most fascinating true crime cases.  You can find all episodes of The Secret Sits for free on Apple Podcast, Spotify or where ever you get your podcasts.  And if you like what you are hearing, reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook @The Secret Sits Podcast or on Twitter @SecretSitsPod. Now, on with our story.

[Theme Music Play Out]

[Under Score Music]

At the end of our last episode we had just finished talking about the murder of Keith McKaskle, which was a strange murder scene, a murder that has never been solved.

And the strange happenings around this case just keep going from here.  On January 22nd, 1989, a 26-year-old man named Greg Collins, who had been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury in the deaths of Kevin and Don, was found in the woods of Prescott, Arkansas.  Greg was found with two shotgun blasts to his chest and one to his face.  Reportedly, Greg had gone out for a hunting trip, just like Kevin and Don had.  Purportedly, Greg had been questioned by prosecutor Garrett and Dan Harmon, shortly before his murder.  Out in the woods and hit with three shotgun blasts, each one of these shots would have been fatal on their own, however; Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak ruled Greg Collins’ death how, you guessed it, a suicide.  

Only a couple of weeks before Greg Collins, killed himself with three shotgun blasts to his body and face, and this is now 6 months after the deaths of Don and Kevin, another acquaintance of Greg, Don and Kevin was killed in a strange motorcycle accident.  The story was officially framed as a simple vehicular accident, Keith Coney, allegedly was driving his motorcycle at a high rate of speed when he slammed into the back end of a semi-truck, killing him instantly.  However, eye witnesses at the scene of the accident stated that Keith Coney was in fact traveling at a high rate of speed, but this was due to the fact that someone was in another vehicle chasing Keith.  Keith was attempting to allude this vehicle in his wake when he swerved into the back of the semi-truck.  When witnesses approached the accident scene, they claimed that they observed injuries to Keith’s body that were inconsistent with simply being in a vehicle accident.  These witnesses said they saw that Keith’s throat was slashed and he had other injuries that were obviously not from his accident.  The Medical Examiner should have been in charge of performing an autopsy in this case, however; there was never an autopsy performed on Keith Coney.

As I previously stated, Keith was an acquaintance of both Don Henry and Kevin Ives.  Keith told his mother that he knew information about Don and Kevin’s deaths, but he refused to give her the details.  Keith told his father and some of his close friends that he had been out with Kevin and Don the night they died.  He then also told his father that while the three boys were out, they were approached by a police car with two law enforcement officers inside of the vehicle.  Keith claimed that he fled this scene on his motorcycle, and did not witness Kevin and Don’s deaths, but he does believe that their deaths were at the hands of these two mysterious officers.

Another death close to this case is that of Daniel “Boonie” Bearden.  Boonie, as he was known had been missing since July of 1988 and they received a tip in March of 1989 that Boonie was buried in a remote location near the Arkansas River.  Based on this tip, there was a search conducted, during this search a piece of clothing identified as having belonged to Boonie was located, but this would be the only clue found and Boonie’s body was never found nor recovered.  Evidently, Boonie was tied to drug trafficking in the area and he had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury in Don and Kevin’s case.  It is widely believed that Boonie was murdered, but his body has never been located.

And we are going to keep going, because this case is a crazy mess.  In April of 1989, a 21-year-old man named Jeffrey Edward Rhodes, also a reported drug dealer, informed his mother that he was in fear for his life, he then called his father in Texas to tell him that he needed to get out of Arkansas, because he knew too much about “the boys on the tracks” and the murder of Keith McKaskle.  Days after Jeffrey spoke to his parents, his motorcycle was located on the side of the road, kickstand down, just like he stopped on the side of the road and got off of his bike.  A week after his bike was located, his body was also located, in a trash dumpster in Benton, Arkansas.  Jeff suffered a horrible death, he had been shot in the head, his body was mutilated, his killer or killers had attempted to sever his hands, feet and head from his body, but they had been unsuccessful in removing the body parts, his body had then been set on fire.  An anonymous caller decided to call in a tip, in this tip a female, reported stated that she believed Jeff was stopped by Benton police officers and then those officers hilled him, the woman went on to say that she believed there were corrupt officers in the Benton Police Department.  In the days before Don Henry and Kevin Ives were murdered, Don had purchased a dime bag of weed from Jeff and Don told Jeff that he knew the ultimate dealer in Little Rock, Arkansas.  A man named Frank Pilcher was arrested and convicted of Jeff’s murder, he received life in prison for the murder.

This story goes that Frank Pilcher, along with his girlfriend Marissa Lynn Bragg, went to Jeff Rhoades’ apartment in Marissa’s pickup truck to purchase some cocaine.  Frank and Marissa needed to get money to pay for the cocaine, so their plan was to drive in Marissa’s truck to get some money, with Jeff following behind them on his motorcycle.  But this was deceitful, and their true plan was to try and lose Jeff in an area known as, the bottoms, near Tull in Grant County.  When the two could not shake Jeff on his motorcycle, they pulled over, Frank got out of the truck while Marissa stayed put inside of it.  Marissa suddenly heard Jeff say, “Man, this is just $25.”  Then a gunshot rang out.  Marissa was given immunity for her testimony, but she did help load Jeff’s dead body into the back of her truck on that evening.  She claimed that she never knew that the intent was to kill Jeff that night. 

And we are not going to stop there, because in this case, the bodies just keep piling up.  In July of 1989, Richard Winters was killed by a shotgun blast to his face.  This case, at first was thought to have been a hold up, but later investigators began to believe that the holdup aspect was simply a set up.  At one point, Richard Winters was considered a suspect in the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry, however; Richard had agreed to cooperate with the grand jury in this case just shortly before he, himself was killed.

In this same year, 1989, a man by the name of James Milam had been found decapitated in his own home.  And I hope at this point you are still with me, because now I am really going to blow your minds.  Let me reiterate, James Milam was found dead in his own home, with his head removed from his body and our friendly neighborhood Medical Examiner Dr. Fahmy Malak performed his autopsy.  Dr. Malak ruled James’ death was from natural causes, brought on by an ulcer, are you kidding me a fucking ulcer caused this man’s head to come off, give me a break.  Dr. Malak went on to claim that James Milam’s small dog had eaten James’ entire head.  I mean this man should have been a Hollywood script writer or something other than a medical professional, because he just loves to make up stories.  Anyway, a few days later James Milam’s head was located in a trash dumpster a few blocks from his home.  But do not despair, we can keep out faith in the great Dr. Malak, because he came up with a reasonable explication for this as well, Dr. Malak said that the dog must have just regurgitated the head.  But this was a small dog, did he swallow the head whole and vomit it back up whole, then sneak out of the house to take the head somewhere else, come on Dr. Malak, even Hollywood is not buying that story line.  Once again, James Milam was supposedly a witness to the Mena drug cartel’s operation and a witness to the murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives.

I hope you are still with me because I cannot stop yet, there is still so much more to talk about.  In June of 1990, Jordan Kettleson was found in the front seat of his pickup truck with a shotgun blast to his head.  Jordan was rumored to have had information about the deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, he was also implicated in the murder of Keith McKaskle.  Before the police could investigate his murder, if they were going to investigate his murder, and before Dr. Malak had a chance to make up, I mean, perform an autopsy, his body was cremated.

In March of 1990 a deputy prosecutor named Jean Duffy is asked to head up a new drug task force.  This task force is going to be used to investigate drug trafficking across several counties, including Saline County.  But this new drug task force is not without its own roadblocks.  On day one of this newly formed task force, Jean’s boss, Prosecutor Gary Arnold, shows up in her office, and he tells Jean that she is not allowed to use this task force to investigate any public officials, which to me indicates that there are definitely public officials involved in drug trafficking. Jean was not very concerned about this directive at first, because so far, on day one, she had no indications that any public officials were involved in the drug trafficking problem in her area.  Soon into Jean’s task force’s infancy, however; Jean does find that there are several public officials involved in the local drug trade.  One of these officials is none other than Dan Harmon.  As Jean begins to investigate Dan, she speaks to one of Dan’s ex-girlfriends named Sharlene Wilson.  Sharlene tells Jean that Dan is heavily involved in the sale and distribution of cocaine.  She told Jean that he always had some of the drug on him and she had witnessed Dan on many occasions making transactions himself.  Because Jean had been explicitly instructed not to investigate public officials, this brought her investigation to a screeching halt.  She could not include this information about Dan in her report, or her boss would know that she had gone rouge and that she was not following his instructions.  But then Jean had a thought, what if the reason she had been instructed to not investigate public officials was because her boss already knew that there were public officials involved?  Maybe her boss was even involved himself.  So instead of reporting her findings directly to her boss, Jean chose to go to the assistant US attorney Bob Govar with her findings.  Bob is currently running an investigation looking into public corruption in Saline County.  When she speaks with Bob about her findings, Bob tells Jean that both Dan Harmon and Richard Garrett had both come up in his investigation as well.  Somehow, Dan Harmon finds out about Jean’s investigation and then suddenly press articles begin coming out accusing Jean of all kinds of wrongdoing including; embezzlement and making wrongful arrests.  Jean could not believe what was happening, but she kept on performing her investigation, she knew that these articles were all fabrications, but how could she prove that?  Jean ended up being fired due to the bad press surrounding her.  After she was fired, 5 of her 7 investigators quit in protest of her termination.  Dan Harmon then called for a grand jury to begin investigating Jean and she is subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, but Jean’s gut told her not to show up at the grand jury hearing.  Because she failed to show up at the hearing, a federal warrant is issued for her arrest.  After this warrant is issued, Jean gets a strange call from her mother.  On this call, Jean’s mother tells Jean that a friend who works for the police overheard a conversation, and in this conversation, it was said that after Jean is arrested, she is going to be killed while being held in jail.  Jean fled the area and eventually Jean, her husband and their children all fled the state.  After Jean fled, a grand jury is convened to review Bob Govar’s findings in his public corruption investigation.  Bizarrely, before the grand jury has heard everything discovered in this case, they are all dismissed and all public officials are cleared of any wrongdoing.  Bob Govar then resigned in protest over this outlandish action by the court.

In June of 1995, another witness for the Henry-Ives grand jury was found dead.  Mike Samples had been shot to death.  Mike was involved in retrieving drugs from the airplane drops performed by the cartel.  Authorities have denied that Mike’s murder had any connections to the murders of the boys on the tracks. 

Almost all of these horrific deaths; Greg Collins, Daniel Boonie Bearden, James Milam, Jordan Kettleson and Mike Samples remain unsolved to this day.

On the night of August 22nd into the morning of the 23rd, when Don and Kevin were killed, someone was sitting in a convenience store parking lot, we will call this witness Jerry.  Jerry came forward to tell his story of that night and it went a little something like this.  Jerry was sitting in a convenience store parking lot when he saw three teenage boys hanging out by the store.  One of these boys was on a motorcycle.  Jerry believed that these boys were smoking some pot when two policemen rolled up in their cruiser.  The boy on the motorcycle took off and the officers did not give chase, instead, Jerry claimed, the two officers began beating the shit out of the two teenage boys who were left at the store.  They then threw the boys into the back of their patrol vehicle.  Jerry, as a good Samaritan, went to the authorities to tell his story, and when he did, the police arrested Jerry for outstanding child support payments. After serving 90 days in jail, Jerry was released with a strong suggestion that he get out of town.  And they did not have to tell Jerry twice, he packed his stuff and left town, and he has not been back since.

But even with Jerry now out of town, another witness came forward, we will call this witness Ron.  Well, Ron had been out at the club on that Saturday night, August 22nd, 1987.  When the lights came on and he could see what everyone truly looked like, Ron decided to head home.  Ron was passing the same convenience store mentioned by Jerry around 12:30am when he noticed a car, he suspected of being an undercover police car in the store’s parking lot.  Ron stated that he saw a young man fitting Don Henry’s description being beaten down by two police officers.  Ron could not describe the second boy present, because the boy had his head tucked down, not showing his face.  Ron then also stated that he watched as the two officers threw the young boys into the back of their car.  The car then pulled out of the parking lot and drove down a dead-end road.  Ron, who was slightly inebriated from his time that evening at the club, pulled over in his car to let the officers go on their way.  He sat there for 15 or 20 minutes and then the police car returned from the dead-end road, Ron could no longer see the boys in the back of their car.

There ended up being two police officers who were specifically named as suspects by witnesses and tips to the police tipline.  Those two officers sued for defamation, but they both lost their cases.  One of these officers was later convicted of drug charges and was sent to prison, the other officer ended up becoming a police chief and the head of the narcotics division.  

On September 10th, 1991, our good friend Dr. Fahmy Malak resigned from his position as the Medical Examiner for Arkansas, he had held the position for 12 years.  Dr. Malak made years of questionable decisions, as we have talked about today, but besides those decisions he had also labeled a victim with 5 gunshot blasts to the chest, as a suicide, he had given erroneous testimony in criminal cases, mixing up tissue samples with DNA samples and he accused a deputy county coroner of murder simply because Dr. Malak misread a chart. 

Once Dr. Malak had resigned, it was soon reveled that when the grand jury had overruled his findings in the Don Henry and Kevin Ives case, the, then governor of Arkansas, a man you may have heard of named Bill Clinton, hired two out-of-state pathologists to review Dr. Malak’s findings at a cost of over $20,000.  These two pathologists gave Dr. Malak high marks for his work and suggested to Clinton that Dr. Malak deserved a raise.  Bill Clinton and his board, decided to forgo a review of Dr Malak’s work and instead, they send a proposal to the legislature to give Dr. Malak a 41.5% increase to his salary, taking his annual salary to $117,875.  Almost $120,000 per year to say a small dog eat an entire human head and that someone with 5 shotgun blasts to the chest was a suicide, I mean, come on.  It was at this point when Clinton elected not to fire Dr. Malak even though he had already racked up 4 years’ worth of complaints about his medical practices.

Allegedly Clinton protected Dr. Malak as a quid pro quo, because Dr. Malak had protected Bill Clinton’s mother, Virginia Clinton Kelley, who worked as a nurse-anesthesiologist, from charges of negligence and malpractice for two patients under her care.  After Dr. Malak resigned as medical examiner, he was hired at the Health Department as a consultant on sexually transmitted diseases, in this job he was paid $70,000 per year.  Dr. Malak died in Florida in 2018.

35 years have now passed, since the boys on the tracks were killed and the case remains unsolved, rumors continue to circulate and to many, law enforcement appear uninterested in ever solving this decades old case.  Books have been written on this case, newspaper and magazine articles have come and gone noting many aspects of this case and still, nothing.

Attorney Dan Harmon, who we have discussed a lot in this case, ran into legal troubles of his own.  In March 1990, he was reportedly linked to illegal drug activity himself.  In June of 1991, US Attorney Chuck Banks held a press conference to publicly clear Dan and other officials from Saline, who all had drug-related misconduct charges.  Again, this case has a lot of rumors surrounding it and one rumor pertaining to this was that Chuck Banks had been blackmailed into shutting down the case on Dan Harmon, because Dan possessed tapes of Banks having sexual escapades with known sex workers.  Several months after Banks held his press conference, he received a federal judgeship nomination by then-President George Bush, however; when Bill Clinton won the presidency over George Bush, all of Bush’s judge nominations were withdrawn.  

In 1993, Linda Ives, Kevin Ives’ mother, was contacted by a young man who was only 12-years-old at the time of Kevin’s murder.  This man told Linda that he had been out that evening with some friends, they had been out at the train tracks when they saw some lights coming, so they ran and hid in some bushes.  This man claimed that he saw Dan Harmon that night out on the tracks and that Dan was involved in her son’s murder.  Dan was personally known to this man because Dan had, at one point, dated his mother.  This man passed two polygraphs while relaying this information, but the police put very little faith in his version of events, despite this, the man was placed into the witness protection program.  And if we are all taking stock at this point, about half of this small town either claimed they were out on these tracks that night, or they saw others on the tracks on this night.

Also in 1993, a woman named Sharlene Wilson, you know this name because she is an ex-girlfriend of Dan Harmon, anyway she came forward and also accused Dan Harmon of the murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives.  Sharlene claimed that Dan Harmon, Keith McKaskle and another man named Larry Rochelle were all involved in the two boy’s deaths.  Sharlene vehemently believed that Don and Kevin went looking for the drug drop point and they got caught.  During her first statement, she claimed that she was high on coke and meth and she witnessed the boys being killed, see everyone was out there that night! In a second statement, Sharlene claimed that while she was still high on coke and meth, Dan Harmon pressured her to also stab one of the boys, she used her own knife, but only made a shallow, superficial wound.  She also spoke about the mysterious green tarp; she claimed that the tarp had come from her car.  After providing her statements to law enforcement, Sharlene was picked up on a drug charge, and who was the prosecutor on her case, none other than Dan Harmon himself, and despite this being Sharlene’s very first charge of a drug offence, she was given a sentence of 31 years in prison.  Sharlene signed her statements in front of 3 officers back in 1993, but they were inexplicable buried in the case file until being discovered in 2015.  Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, eventually reduced Sharlene’s sentence making her eligible for parole.  

Suspiciously, in November of 1996, as Dan Harmon was working as the Saline County prosecutor, his now ex-wife, was caught with packages of cocaine from the Saline County evidence locker.  That same year, Dan Harmon resigned as the Saline County prosecutor as part of a plea deal, he accepted after giving a beat down to a reporter from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who had simply asked Dan for a comment.

In April 1997, a federal grand jury indicted Dan Harmon with racketeering, dealing cocaine, manufacturing meth, extortion, witness tampering and retaliating against an informant.  What a peach.  Two other men, one an attorney and the other the administrator for a drug task force, were also charged in Dan Harmon’s schemes.  Harmon ended up being convicted on five of these counts: racketeering, three charges of extortion conspiracies and one charge of marijuana distribution.  He received a sentence of 8 years in prison with an additional 3 years added for a subsequent drug charge.

After Harmon was sentenced, more stories began to come out.  Get this, around 900 criminal cases in Saline County had just been dropped, because Dan Harmon did not bring the cases to trial within the one-year statute of limitations.  Those facing charges for drug possession or distribution said that Dan demanded money in exchange for charges against them being dropped.  In fact, one woman claimed that Dan Harmon offered to drop charges against her husband if she slept with him.  So now we are getting the true picture of who Dan Harmon truly was, but wait he is not the worst person he could be, yet.  Dan was arrested on several occasions where he refused to take a drug test when asked, he even attempted to flee during one traffic stop.  Harmon boasted that he had punched an opposing attorney directly in front of a judge, with no repercussions.  Many women accused Dan of physical battery, including his ex-wife, who also made claims that Dan had threatened to kill her, or have her killed.  Dan Harmon was like Teflon, nothing would stick, he was given passes by judges, the police and the Committee on Professional Conduct, who still declined to revoke his license to practice law when Dan refused mandatory drug testing when he was arrested.

Finally in 1999, the Arkansas Supreme Court disbarred Dan Harmon, so he could never practice law again.  He was released from prison in 2006 after assisting prosecutors with a murder conspiracy case.  But even with all of the mud in the Arkansas River on his face, in 2008, Dan Harmon was once again working for Saline County, organizing files for the circuit county clerk’s office.  Just two years later, however; in February of 2010, Dan was once again charged with selling morphine and hydrocodone next to a school, classy forever, Dan.  The prosecutor for this case did not have much to go on and the case was very weak, because of this Dan Harmon was ultimately acquitted of these charges.

In 2016, Linda Ives files a civil suit citing a FOIA or Freedom of Information Act, violation, this suit was brought against several agencies including the CIA, FBI and the Bryant Police Department.  Ms. Ives’ alleged a vast cover-up of her son’s death.  In November of 2017, around one year after bringing the suit, a federal judge ordered three defendants in the suit; the Executive Office of the US Attorneys, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, to turn over their documents for private review unredacted.  This same judge then dismissed several agencies from the suit, including the CIA, the US State Department, the FBI, the Arkansas State Police, the Saline County Sheriff’s Department and the Bryant Police Department.  This suit was fully dismissed in 2019.

As if there have not been enough strange twists, here is another.  In February of 2018, a former professional wrestler, with the World Wrestling Federation, now the WWE, named Billy Jack Haynes recorded and released a video in which he claimed that while providing security for a drug trafficking drop in August of 1987, he personally witnessed the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry, you see even professional wrestlers were out on those tracks that night.  Billy Jack named 6 other individuals who were at the scene that night, including three police officers, two attorneys or politicians and a bouncer from a local club.  Billy Jack made claims that the corruption in the state went all the way to the top. 

After all of the ups and downs in this case, after so many people have been murdered, disappeared or have gone to jail; the strange links to this case still continue.  On August 21st, 1989, almost 2 years to the day after the murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, a 17-year-old boy in Picayune, Mississippi named Norman Lander, also had a mysterious death with a lot of similar circumstances.

On the afternoon of August 21, 1989, seventeen-year-old Norman Ladner left his family's country store to go hunting around their farm, a vast 122 acer farm, that Norman knew inside and out. Norman was a popular high school student known for his kindness who loved the outdoors. When he didn't return for dinner at around 7pm, his parents became worried. They began searching around their property, and his father enlisted the help of some friends. Shortly before 10pm, Norman was found, sadly Norman was no longer alive, and he had been found by his own father, something no parent should have to endure. The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department arrived around 10 p.m. and roped off the area. Before any real investigation had begun, Pearl River County Sheriff Lorance Lumpkin said, from the start that he did not believe a crime had occurred. He said he ruled it out because he saw nothing that supported a crime. He believed that Norman had been in a tree and had fallen, causing the gun to discharge, accidentally shooting himself in the head. Sheriff Lumpkin speculated that Norman had gone to an area that he felt comfortable in and for reasons unknown, decided to take his own life. The coroner, at first told his parents that he was almost certain that his death was an accident, and they accepted that, at first. However, when the coroner released his official findings, he ruled the death a suicide, saying that he died from a close contact wound that entered his right temple and exited his left. Norman’s family was horrified and offended. Norman had been a happy and outgoing young man, not depressed at all and he would have never taken his own life. They pointed out that the investigators never fingerprinted the gun, never ran a test to determine what kind of gun killed Norman, nor did they make any attempt to locate the bullet that had killed him.  

Norman's father said that police made no attempt to locate the bullet and that the gun was not processed for fingerprints. He claims that they never even proved that it was the gun that was used to kill Norman. His parents also learned that he had a laceration on his head. They did not understand how this cut got there. The coroner found a jagged root at the scene with blood on it. He opined that it was this root that had caused the laceration. His father could not understand that, because he would have had to have fallen backward when he was shot. The injury would not match up. His parents then had to go through the difficult task of looking through the blood and tissue at the crime scene themselves in an attempt to find the bullet.  And just for a moment try to imagine that, parents had to sift through their own deceased child’s brain matter just to perform an actual investigation into his death. Norman’s father found the bullet in the dirt below where Norman’s head had laid, and he noticed blood and hair on the bullet, this bullet was also not the correct size for the rifle Norman was using. The authorities, however; did not believe that this was the bullet that killed Norman because it was inconsistent with the coroner's ruling.  Not inconsistent with the firearm, not inconsistent with the angle of the gunshot, simply inconsistent with the coroner’s ruling.  Norman’s family believes that the trajectory suggested that he was laying on his side, on the ground when he was shot. The state's ballistics expert said they could not determine if the bullet found was fired from Norman’s rifle. When the expert returned the bullet to his parents, they realized that it was a completely different bullet from the one that they had given the expert.  This new bullet would not even fire from Norman’s rifle.  Also, Norman had been hunting with a long rifle, so how on earth could he have shot himself directly into his temple with a long rifle?

Three weeks after Norman's death, his parents went to the coroner's office to question him about the ruling.  According to Norman’s mother, on one of the Ladner’s trips to the coroner’s office to question his ruling, she was approached by a stranger who told her not to open this case up, he told her that she had other children to raise, and for her own good, she should raise those children and that she would never find the person who killed Norman. This unknown man disappeared before Norman Sr. could locate him. Her husband decided to return to the site, and while there he found a strange radio-like device hanging from a tree about 300 feet away from where his son’s body had been found. State authorities did not believe that it was important to the case. However, he brought it to a former DEA agent, who told him that this kind of radio was used by drug smugglers to send a low range signal to aircraft, this was so the plane could pinpoint a drop spot to drop the drugs. This former DEA agent believed that Norman may have stumbled onto a drug drop happening in the woods, and that he was killed because he had been a witness and that he may have even recognized the dealers. His parents also noted that he was carrying a wallet with several hundred dollars at the time of his death, but it was not found with his body.  Typically suicide victims do not rob themselves after their deaths.

Authorities, do not believe that drugs were involved in Norman's death, and that it was a suicide. His parents refuse to believe that he committed suicide. They are still hoping for the truth in his case.

Sheriff Lorance Lumpkin was later charged with dogfighting and other illegal activities. Rumors surfaced that Sheriff Lumpkin had ties to the local Dixie Mafia drug cartel, although nothing was ever proven. He died in 2007. Norman, Sr. died in 2003.  Norman’s case remains unsolved.  On October 23, 2018, Richard Garrett passed away at the age of seventy-two. On June 3, 2021, Linda Ives passed away at the age of seventy-one, and just a few months later, on August 24, Kevin Ives’ sister, Alicia, passed away at the age of fifty-three.

There are so many deaths in this case, but are they all related, in some way?  What do you think?  Do you believe that we will ever find out the complete truth surrounding all of the things we have talked about in this case, especially when the perpetrators, or maybe the conspirators go all the way to the top?  I am not so sure, but I do know one thing.  We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.