TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The first phase of a new investigation at the former Dozier School for Boys found no new evidence of human remains, according to a University of South Florida research team.
- 1950s and 60s saw allegations of murder and sexual abuse of students
- 2013 project resulted in exhumations of remains of more than 50 bodies
- 2019 discovery happened during removal of Hurricane Michael debris
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The potential graves were discovered in June by a contractor removing Hurricane Michael debris.
The Dozier property sits in the Panhandle town of Marianna, which was hit hard by the storm.
The first phase of the investigation of the anomalies revealed mostly evidence of tree roots from a previously removed pine tree forest, according to the Florida Department of State.
There is a second phase planned to examine the entire property.
“While the recently reported anomalies were found using remote sensing technology above the ground, we were able to look below the surface and clearly determine no graves or human remains are present,” said Dr. Erin Kimmerle.
“Studying this area of the property was an important step for us to be able to answer the questions that had been raised.”
Kimmerle led a 2013 project that resulted in the exhumations of the remains of more than 50 bodies buried in unmarked graves at Dozier.
Some of those remains showed signs of blunt-force trauma, seemingly confirming widespread allegations of murder and sexual abuse of students by Dozier staffers in the 1950s and '60s.
The Department of State will host a public meeting with stakeholders so that Dr. Kimmerle can provide more detailed information about the investigation of the anomalies and her findings. The date, time and location of the public meeting will be announced in the coming days.