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Final Report Issued on Burials at Florida Reform School

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Florida Dozier Graves TAMPA, FLORIDA—A team led by Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida, has released its final report on archaeological work at the site of a reform school in the Florida panhandle that has been closed since 2011. Almost 100 boys aged six to 18 died at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys between 1900 and 1973, according to NPR. Since 2012, the researchers have exhumed 51 sets of remains, many of which were unidentified and located in unmarked graves. Just 13 of the burials were in the school’s cemetery, while the others were found elsewhere on the school’s grounds. In all, the researchers have made seven positive DNA matches and 14 presumptive identifications. The remains of four individuals who have been positively identified have been returned to their families for burial. Those who attended the school say many were sent there simply because they were orphans or for minor infractions and that, once there, they were subjected to beatings and other mistreatment. The report includes evidence of a possible bullet wound as well as unequal treatment of African-American boys, who were three times as likely to be unnamed in records and to be buried in unmarked locations after they died. To read more about forensic archaeology, go to “The Journey to El Norte.”

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