Marianna- Dale Cox knows more about the history of the Dozier School for boys than most. At a press conference Wednesday, he said findings by the University of South Florida researchers, which led State Attorney General Pam Bondi to request exhumations, were way off base.
"There are two people they list [ in the report] who are just completely non-existent people" Cox said.
He went on to claim at least six people listed in the USF report as being buried at the school either did not exist, were buried elsewhere, or did not die there.
"They're not on the Florida census list- they were added to their list based on misprint in a newspaper in Iowa" he told us.
But some people do believe there may be unmarked graves and bodies unaccounted for of boys who died at the school between 1900 and 1952. But the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found no wrong doing.
USF researchers claim the FDLE missed some bodies, while Cox claims the USF team conducted poor research.
"Among what they found with the ground penetrating radar" he explained, "they found a total of 14 probably grave sites. In the cemetery. There are 31 crosses there we know there are more than 14 crosses there.
Cox said the dig was unfounded and would further hurt the local economy and demean Marianna's reputation.