TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An investigation of recently discovered 'anomalies' on the site of the now-shuttered Dozier School for Boys has so far turned up no proof of more unmarked graves, the anthropologist leading the investigation told stakeholders Monday.
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During a roundtable briefing in Tallahassee, Dr. Erin Kimmerle of the University of South Florida said her team removed the topsoil surrounding the areas in question but could find nothing more than tree roots.
The potential graves were discovered by a contractor removing Hurricane Michael debris. The Dozier property sits in the Panhandle town of Marianna, which was hit hard by the storm.
Ground-penetrating radar has identified 27 anomalies in the area flagged by the contractor.
"There were tree roots and root balls in the areas of those anomalies and very little to nothing else in between," Kimmerle said.
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.
But the investigation into the anomalies isn't over. This fall, Kimmerle plans to use a distance-measuring laser light system to survey more of the Dozier grounds.
The system isn't capable of penetrating through concrete, which Harley DeNyke, who attended the school in the mid-'60s, says could pose a problem.
"The way things have grown up out there and all the other concrete that's been added over the years, it's kind of defeating the purpose," DeNyke said. "I mean, it's very disappointing that it's not as strong as we'd like it to be."