Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "detectives" ...

  • Unsolved: The Devil You Know

    The body of Fr. Alfred Kunz, his throat slit, was found on the floor of St. Michael School in Dane, Wisconsin, on March 4, 1998. Twenty years later, the murder remains unsolved. Kunz was a conservative cleric and exorcist who clung to the Latin Mass and preached of a vengeful God. Some believed his death was linked to his battle against evil. Others believed his all-too-human flaws were to blame. The murder has never been solved, largely because police spent decades going after the wrong man, teacher Brian Jackson, our investigation found. Police never impounded Jackson’s car or searched it for trace evidence. Within hours of the murder, he was able to drive it out of the school parking lot. One detective who worked on the case for years, Kevin Hughes, set his sights on Jackson and refused to glance in any other direction. Ten years ago, Hughes’ lieutenant told reporters police knew who the killer was, but that the district attorney wouldn’t charge him. Their attempts to build a case against Jackson rather than remaining open to other theories may have allowed valuable clues to go unnoticed, the sheriff acknowledged during Barton’s investigation that became Unsolved: The Devil You Know. After about two years, the investigation stalled. Continuity disappeared as the sheriff’s department assigned new detectives to the case every few years. Over the past two decades, five different people have served as lead investigator. The case file consists of thousands of pages — and counting — snapped into 40 three-ring binders. The sheriff can’t name anyone working for the department today who has read them all.
  • The homicide files

    A four-part series including: "At the Roundhouse: How detectives compel murder 'confessions,'" "How police harassed a family," "A police beating...and a decision not to charge detectives," "How detectives escape prosecution," and more.
  • Investigating the Investigators

    WTSP's series investigating sex predator stings exposed how detectives were improperly entrapping men that posed little – or no – threat to society. They challenged authority, exposed wrongdoing, and prompted changes over the course of our two-year-long investigation. Even though NBC ended its run of “To Catch a Predator” stings years ago, similar operations continued in Florida well into 2014, thriving on federal grants and made-for-TV press conferences. Their nine stories showed how detectives had to start leaning on dishonest and unethical tactics to keep up their arrest totals.
  • The Forgotten Dead

    Columbia College Chicago students spent a year investigating unsolved homicides in Chicago, determining that police repeatedly failed to follow department policy that required detectives to have occasional contact with murder victims' families. Despite numerous roadblocks - including being denied even basic information about dozens of homicide cases and police officials refusing to be interviewed - students were able to give voice to the families and friends of homicide victims.
  • Two Gunshots

    From the moment the police found Michelle O’Connell, a young, single mother, dying from a gunshot to the head, there were troubling questions about what happened inside the house in St. Augustine, Florida. The fatal shot came from the service weapon of her boyfriend, a local sheriff’s deputy. O’Connell had just broken up with him and was packing to move out of his house. And barely an hour before she died, O’Connell had texted her sister to say she would soon be there to pick up her four-year-old daughter. Yet, none of this troubled detectives from the St. John’s County Sheriff’s – all fellow officers of O’Connell’s boyfriend. Within hours, they concluded that O’Connell had committed suicide. Those critical questions remained unanswered for nearly two years, until Walt Bogdanich, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, began examining the death of Michelle O’Connell – a case that had deeply divided law enforcement agencies in Florida and raised broader issues of how the police investigate one of their own, particularly in instances of domestic violence. Bogdanich found that the criminal justice system had failed almost from the moment the fatal shot was fired. Evidence wasn’t collected. Neighbors weren’t canvassed. Important interviews were not conducted. Medical examiners concocted absurd theories to support the suicide conclusion and prosecutors blindly endorsed them. The Times’s investigation, conducted in conjunction with the PBS investigative program Frontline, was part of a broader examination of how the police deal with the corrosive and persistent problem of domestic violence in their ranks.
  • Scenes of a Crime

    'Scenes of a Crime' explores a 10-hour interrogation culminating in a disputed confession, and an intense, high-profile murder trial in New York state. In September 2008, an infant named Matthew Thomas lies brain dead in a hospital, and his doctor misdiagnoses a skull fracture. The doctor tells Troy, New York police that the child has been murdered, and the detectives bring the baby’s father, Adrian Thomas, in for questioning. Police video of the interrogation reveals the complicated psychological contest between detectives and their suspect over many hours, including lies, threats and coercion that are legally permitted by most courts.
  • Many Bullets, Little Blame

    This two-day series uncovered a significant, serious and growing problem in Kansas City: Police routinely shut down investigations into nonfatal shootings because victims wouldn't talk or detectives had trouble finding them again. Reporter Christine Vendel spent months studying a year's worth of shooting reports, knocking on victims' doors, and interviewing police, experts and others. Her series revealed that 60 percent of the 2011 cases had been shut down, even in instances where other witnesses existed. Meanwhile, charges were filed in only 10 percent of cases, leaving nearly all shooters free to threaten, maim and possibly new victims. The second day of the series drew comparisons to domestic violence issues of 20 years ago, when those victims faced similar problems. Police, prosecutors, lawmakers and others worked on solutions back then -- but no one was working today to help shooting victims. Vendel's series changed that.
  • Broken Shield

    Decades ago, California created a special police force to patrol exclusively at its five state developmental centers – taxpayer-funded institutions where patients with severe autism and cerebral palsy have been beaten, tortured and raped by staff members. But California Watch found that this state force, the Office of Protective Services, does an abysmal job bringing perpetrators to justice. Reporter Ryan Gabrielson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, exposed the depths of the abuse inside these developmental centers while showing how sworn officers and detectives wait too long to start investigations, fail to collect evidence and ignore key witnesses – leading to an alarming inability to solve crimes inflicted upon some of society’s most vulnerable citizens. Dozens of women were sexually assaulted inside state centers, but police investigators didn’t order “rape kits” to collect evidence, a standard law enforcement tool. Police waited so long to investigate one sexual assault that the staff janitor accused of rape fled the country, leaving behind a pregnant patient incapable of caring for a child. The police force’s inaction also allowed abusive caregivers to continue molesting patients – even after the department had evidence that could have stopped future assaults. Many of the victims chronicled by California Watch are so disabled they cannot utter a word. Gabrielson gave them a resounding voice. Our Broken Shield series prompted far-reaching change, including a criminal investigation, staff retraining and new laws – all intended to bring greater safeguards and accountability.
  • MCSO Sex Crimes Unit Investigation

    We uncovered that Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Sex Crimes Unit detectives failed to investigate hundreds of sex crimes cases. Not only were hundreds not investigated, but many were cleared in a way so they would be reported along with arrest numbers giving the public the appearance the cases were solved.
  • City Rape Statistics Questioned

    The Sun's investigation found that nearly a third of rapes reported in the city were being deemed "untrue or baseless" by detectives. The paper uncovered examples of women being grilled by detectives until they recanted their stories; and in many case reports never made it from street patrol cops to the detectives.