Resource Center





The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.




Search results for "families" ...

  • Cross-Border Killings

    In October 2012, a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired through the 20-foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico, killing an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy with 10 bullets through his body. The agents said he was throwing rocks. This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise questions about oversight and accountability of the U.S. Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed 6 Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more. One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another 15-year-old boy was hit between the eyes with a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks. None of these cases has led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and U.S. courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens. Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – presently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the families who have lost their sons at the hands of U.S. agents with no follow up or acknowledgement from U.S. officials.

    Tags: border patrol

    By Mathieu Skene; Singeli Agnew; Carrie Lozano; Wab Kinew; Lincoln Else; Murphy Joseph Woodhouse; Judith Torrea; Andrea Schmidt; John Kane; Keith Wilson; Yousur Alhou; Paul Abowd; Mark Scialla; Omar Damascene; Jonathan Klett

    Al Jazeera America



    “SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI” (by Alex Quade) --- When the U.S. military officially departed Iraq due to the Status of Forces Agreement deadline, a little known part of the handover included leaving behind secret Special Forces’ “Team houses” — or “safe houses” — hidden around the country. One was built by Green Beret Staff Sergeant Rob Pirelli and his Operational Detachment Alpha -072, or “A-Team.” Pirelli, of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group, built the combat outpost in a remote part of Diyala Province, near the Iranian border, in 2007. As a lone reporter, I was there at the combat outpost’s beginning stages, then spent 2-years covering these same, secretive Special Forces “A-Teams” on multiple deployments. During one combat mission, Green Beret Staff Sgt. Pirelli was killed in action during an ambush. His heroism saved his 12-Special Forces teammates, and the Iraqis his unit was advising. As a reporter, I made the commitment to follow Pirelli’s “A-Team” and his “Gold Star Family” for 5-years after he was killed; I also went back to Combat Outpost Pirelli repeatedly over the years. My 40-page, two-part, special online article (with photos and video), covered two different investigative, journalistic themes. First: over time, how Pirelli’s family and teammates found ways (both successful and unsuccessful) to deal with the loss; as well as an inside look at how Special Forces command/headquarters handle a soldier killed in action. Second: using the Combat Outpost as a metaphorical barometer, I documented the change in the Special Forces’ mission in that part of Iraq, as well as the U.S. military’s role, and the progress or regress into violence, over 5-years.

    Tags: military; special forces; green berets

    By Alex Quade

    The Daily Caller


  • Death in Singapore

    “Death in Singapore”, an investigation by the Financial Times, made global headlines in 2013 and shone a spotlight on security and technology safeguards as well as the vulnerabilities of workers in the vast and competitive marketplace of commercial and defense research. An original and painstaking reporting effort, the story investigated the hanging of Shane Todd, a young American electronics engineer who feared his work with a government agency in Singapore was compromising US security. This classic example of long-form journalism became one of the most read stories ever on, receiving more than half a million page views. It triggered demands from US senators for a more robust examination about whether or why Todd may have killed himself as well as questions from the US State Department. The FBI was brought into the investigation – which the family had been asking for – after the FT report.

    Tags: suicide; technology; national security

    By Ray Bonner; Christine Spolar

    Financial Times (United Kingdom)


  • The Gifted Life of a Governor

    Over months of in-depth investigative reporting, Washington Post reporters discovered Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell--a respected state leader and rising star in his party--held a secret: He and his family had accepted lavish gifts and large loans from the chief executive of a struggling dietary supplement manufacturer, even while working to promote the company. The gifts included luxury items such as designer clothes, a Cape Cod vacation, a Rolex watch and a catered wedding. The money totaled $120,000 in loans over about a year in 2011 and 2012, none repaid before the Washington Post started asking questions. After dozens of articles, the governor apologized for his actions and repaid the money. State and federal authorities opened criminal probes and leaders in both parties have promised to rewrite state ethics laws, long considered some of the most lax in the nation.

    Tags: ethics; government; bribes; gifts

    By Rosalind S. Helderman; Carol D. Leonnig; Laura Vozzella

    The Washington Post


  • Missing Millions

    A year-long Washington Post investigation discovered more than 1,000 “significant diversions” of assets from the nation's nonprofits, documenting for the first time a pervasive pattern of unreported financial crime at some of America's most prominent institutions. The organizations victimized ranged from international aid organizations and leading charities to a litany of grassroots groups –feeding centers for hungry families, women’s shelters, even a home for abused children. The size of the losses was often stunning: $43 million at an AIDS organization, $60 million at a charity for Holocaust survivors, $106 million at a major university. Just 10 of the largest diversions totaled more than a half-billion dollars, indicating that the universe of thefts was many billions. Even more disturbing was what was missing from financial disclosure reports. In violation of IRS reporting rules, most of the organizations kept the details of the crimes to themselves. Most failed to disclose the amount stolen on their reports, and many more gave no hint who took the money or what the organization had done in response. Federal and state authorities had done nothing to find out or hold those groups accountable.

    Tags: charities; fraud

    By Joe Stephens; Mary Pat Flaherty

    Washington Post


  • 'Crooked Care' - Investigation into Narconon of Georgia

    Our year-long investigation culminated with the closure of a drug rehabilitation facility accused of deceiving patients, court officials and state regulators in order to enhance profits funneled to its benefactor, the Church of Scientology. Georgia's Insurance Commissioner and a local district attorney launched an ongoing criminal investigation after reviewing our findings that Narconon of Georgia lied about its license, billed insurance companies for treatment never received (that families had already paid for), and opened credit cards in the names of clients without their permission. For a decade, state regulators tasked with oversight of drug rehabilitation facilities had ignored complaints from vulnerable drug addicts and their families, repeatedly reversing fines and citations. The state ultimately revoked Narconon of Georgia's license as a direct result of our reporting. This investigation was a collaborative effort between WSB-TV, WSB-Radio and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A reporter from each institution shared the research and reporting responsibilities. The stories were featured on all three platforms simultaneously. In addition, each entity spotlighted the story digitally with extensive online coverage, due to the worldwide interest the story gleaned.

    Tags: drug rehab; patients; drug addicts

    By Jodie Fleischer; Josh Wade; LeVar James; Dave Darling; Pete Combs; Christian Boone

    WSB Radio (Atlanta)


  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    On June 28, 2013, multiple lightning strikes triggered a series of small fires around the community of Yarnell, Arizona. The fires remained small in nature through Saturday night, but several were moving closer to homes. Thirty-seven fires were being managed by hot shot crews and local fire departments. On Sunday, a series of weather events, poor communication with crews in the field and the lack of aerial fire suppression support led to a series of events which culminated in the deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot team. The Yarnell tragedy was covered exhaustively by local and national media through the July 9th memorial which was attended by Vice President Joe Biden. Within days of the tragedy, KPNX-TV, 12 News in Phoenix, assigned it's Watchdog team to find out what happened, follow the financial donations and benefits to hot shot families, make sure the money was going where it was intended and provide background on the person charged with finding out what went wrong at Yarnell. The stories included in this submission provide a comprehensive overview to our reporting. It should be noted these reports were exclusives at the time they aired.

    Tags: fire departments; fires

    By Mark Phillips

    KPNX-TV (Phoenix)


  • A Home, But No Help

    As rates of homelessness were soaring in Hillsborough County, the local government’s program for housing the poor was in crisis. It was paying millions of dollars to slumlords who housed the homeless, including veterans and families with small children, alongside sex offenders in filthy, crime-ridden and bug-infested buildings. It was sending the sick and dying to a squalid, unlicensed home where they were abused and they languished without care. It even ensured, through a perverse misuse of a federal reimbursement plan, that a few homeless people who qualified for federal disability money stayed destitute by garnishing most of their government checks. All of this was going on, but nobody --- not top government leaders nor the taxpayers who funded it --- knew the extent of the problems. That all changed when the Tampa Bay Times started reporting on the program. A series of stories by reporters Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia brought greater transparency to local government. The stories resulted in sweeping reforms and gave the area’s vulnerable homeless a voice for the first time in decades.

    Tags: homeless;

    By Michael LaForgia; Will Hobson

    Tampa Bay Times


  • Children Left Behind

    Children Left Behind is an investigative news documentary which exposes a flawed foreign adoption system impacting children stuck in orphanages and their Texas families fighting to bring them home. KVUE’s investigative reporter Andy Pierrotti and photojournalist Derek Rasor traveled to Haiti to see the problem first-hand. Through interviews with families, lawmakers and experts, the documentary sheds light into a problem impacting a vulnerable population and goes to great lengths to get answers and find potential solutions.

    Tags: adoption; haiti

    By Andy Pierrotti; Derek Rasor; Kathy Hadlock

    KVUE-TV (Austin, Texas)


  • Watching Tony Die

    Wendy Halloran first requested public records from the Arizona Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) in the fall of 2010, shortly after Anthony Lester died at the Manzanita Detention Unit in Tucson. As she investigated the incident, Halloran learned that ADOC officers who responded to the call in Lester’s prison cell retrieved a video camera to document the incident. The resulting video depicted the officers’ response to Lester’s suicide attempt. In June 2011, Halloran first requested that ADOC make a copy of the video available for inspection and copying. However, ADOC denied her request, citing the privacy interests of Lester’s surviving family members, who had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against ADOC alleging that ADOC’s officers stood by and refused to render first aid to Lester as he bled to death in his cell. Halloran continued reporting on Lester’s death, but without the aid of the video that showed what happened. In July 2012, Halloran renewed her public records request for the video. ADOC again denied the request, citing only the privacy concerns of Lester’s family. Halloran then contacted the attorney representing Lester’s family, who informed Halloran in early September 2012 that the family did not object to disclosure, provided that two small sections of the video in which Lester was partially clothed were redacted. Upon learning that the family did not oppose disclosure, Halloran renewed her public records request on September 6, 2012 with ADOC for the video. Despite Lester’s family voicing no objections to disclosure, ADOC again denied Halloran’s request, now inexplicably citing Lester’s privacy interests. Three days after denying her request, ADOC offered to allow Halloran to view the video, but continued to refuse disclosure of a copy of the video -- despite no distinction in the Arizona Public Records Law between the rights of inspection and copying. On September 20, 2012, Halloran viewed the video. She renewed her request for a copy of the video on September 24, and narrowed her request, seeking only the first 12 minutes of the video that involved ADOC’s response to Lester’s injuries. ADOC again denied Halloran’s request, citing only Lester’s “personal privacy” interests – a dubious legal proposition because courts rarely recognize privacy interests of the deceased. Having exhausted all attempts to convince ADOC to comply with the law and release the video, KPNX and Halloran filed a Special Action against ADOC on October 2, 2012. ADOC continued to resist disclosure of the video, first requesting that the case be transferred to the judge who was presiding over the Lester family’s wrongful death lawsuit, and then filing two separate responses to the lawsuit. In its responses, ADOC asserted for the first time that disclosure of the video could pose a threat to prison safety and security, and prejudice the jury pool in the civil case. In addition, the agency continued to cite the privacy interests of Lester and his family to oppose disclosure of the video – even though Lester’s family did not object to disclosure. On November 21, 2012, Arizona Superior Court Judge David M. Talamante ordered ADOC to produce the video to KPNX and Halloran, finding that ADOC failed to meet its burden to withhold the video under the Arizona Public Records Law. Judge Talamante rejected all of ADOC’s arguments, and suggested he was inclined to grant KPNX’s request for attorneys’ fees. ADOC later agreed to pay more than $26,000.00 in attorneys’ fees to KPNX as a result of its wrongful denial of Halloran’s public records requests.

    Tags: public records; prison; death; suicide;

    By Wendy Halloran; Jeff Blackburn; Tom Tingle; Bryan West; Mark Casey; Mark Phillips

    KPNX-TV (Phoenix)