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 "sheriff" ...

  • 48 Hours: “Fatal Crossing”

    “Fatal Crossing” is a 48 Hours original investigation into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of Kadie Major, 26, and her 10-month-old daughter, River Lynn. In January 2008, their bodies were found along railroad tracks in Moncks Corner, SC. After a one-week investigation, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office determined that Kadie –five months pregnant— had murdered her daughter before killing herself by jumping in front of a moving train.
  • Unchecked Power

    After losing hard-fought reelection campaigns, Alabama’s sheriffs often turn their attention to undermining their successors in ways that abuse the public trust. On his way out the door, one sheriff drilled holes in government-issued cell phones, while another pocketed public money intended to feed inmates. The ousted leaders dumped jail food down the drain and burned through tens of thousands of sheriff's office dollars by purchasing thousands of rolls of toilet paper. These are among the findings of my six-month investigation into these practices for AL.com and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. In June 2019, I chronicled the actions of nine defeated Alabama sheriffs, seven of whom allegedly destroyed public property, stole public funds and/or wasted taxpayer money after their electoral defeats. These stories were made possible by my realization that incoming sheriffs were often more willing to talk on the record about the bad behavior and criminality of predecessors who had taken advantage of them than they would be under other circumstances.
  • 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.
  • To fulfill Trump’s vision on immigration, sheriffs are trampling over constitutional principles

    “To fulfill Trump’s vision on immigration, sheriffs are trampling over constitutional principles,” by Yvette Cabrera and published in ThinkProgress, examines the practice by sheriff’s departments across the country who are holding people in jail past their release date at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] using a technique that legal experts say raises serious questions about potential constitutional rights violations.
  • WUFT: Cost of Sunshine

    Public record requests of various county and local governments were made in an effort to determine the number of public record requests received by each governmental unit, the cost to provide access to the requested records, the fees recovered from requestors, and copies of agency public record access policies. Those governmental units not audited received a survey designed to obtain the same information sought in the public record requests. Public record requests included all county constitutional officers in nine Florida counties as well as the city clerk in the county seat. County constitutional officers include the state attorney; sheriff; clerk of court; tax collector; property appraiser; supervisor of elections; public defender; and school superintendent. Counties were chosen based on geographic and population diversity. Six state agencies were also included: Executive Office of Governor, Attorney General,Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Financial Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  • WSAW: Absentee Sheriff

    Though the current sheriff was not running to keep his office, the 2018 sheriff's race in Wood County, Wisconsin brought something to the surface that had been a rumor in the county for years. Two candidates claimed the sheriff was rarely in the county, or even the state. WSAW-TV's investigative reporter fact checked the claims, allowing voters to make more informed decisions about who their next sheriff would be.
  • VPR: Watch Your Speed

    Law enforcement in Vermont issued more than 24,000 tickets worth upwards of $4 million in fines to drivers in 2017. A quarter were issued in three small towns. This investigation revealed how one county sheriff has profited from his traffic contracts with two of the towns. It also showed how issuing traffic tickets allowed another town to maintain an unusually low tax rate.
  • RMPBS "Insight with John Ferrugia" - "Imminent Danger"

    This project examines the issue of killings by mentally ill persons with access to guns. The story is told through the eyes of a mother whose mentally ill son murdered a sheriff’s deputy and wounded four others, and of the Sheriff whose deputy died. Both agree the confrontation could have been avoided if only state law allowed earlier intervention when a mentally ill person with access to guns is spinning out of control. Both did everything possible to head off the crisis, but had no legal tools to prevent it. The project also includes an exclusive interview with the parents of Aurora Theater killer James Holmes who explain they simply did not recognize the warning signs that their son was mentally ill and capable of homicide. They hold themselves responsible for their son’s mass murder.
  • L.A. Times: In the Search for Drugs, a Lopsided Dragnet

    Since 2012, deputies in a specialized narcotics unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have pulled over thousands of cars on a rural stretch of the 5 Freeway, California’s major north-south artery. A Times analysis of the unit’s traffic stops found Latino drivers are stopped and searched far more frequently than other motorists – a disparity that translated into thousands of innocent people being detained by deputies acting on little more than a hunch. In several cases, federal judges ruled deputies violated people’s constitutional rights. In response to The Times’ investigation, the Sheriff’s Department recently suspended the unit’s operations.
  • KPCC: Repeat

    KPCC’s “Repeat” is a serialized podcast that shows how one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, investigates officers who shoot civilians. We found a system that is largely shielded from public scrutiny and raised questions about the secrecy of internal investigations.