Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Two more sets of remains identified from Dozier reform school excavation

Two more sets of remains exhumed from a small clearing in the pines on the campus of Florida's oldest reform school have been identified, according to University of South Florida anthropologists who will present their findings to Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Thursday.

The project to identify boys buried in unadorned graves, which started in 2012, has ended with seven positive DNA matches and 14 presumptive identifications. A total of 51 sets of remains were found on the campus, which is 20 more than the state's chief law enforcement agency said were buried there after a rudimentary investigation in 2008 and 2009.

The report on Thursday will bring to an end the university's work on the school grounds outside Marianna, in Jackson County, about 60 miles west of Tallahassee.

The project, headed by USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, was launched several years after five former wards of the school spoke publicly in 2008 about being tortured by school employees and about classmates who disappeared. The men, invited to the campus for the ceremonial closing of the building in which they were spanked until their behinds bled, led reporters to a small clearing in the woods where 31 crude pipe crosses supposedly marked graves. USF's investigation, which included the use of ground-penetrating radar, showed burials far outside of the marked graveyard.  (more...)

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