The investigations into alleged abuse and murder at the old Dozier School for Boys in Marianna received a huge boost today.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson says University of South Florida researchers may be eligible for a justice department of grant, from $3 million dollars earmarked for exhuming and identifying missing persons with DNA.
Nelson wants the researchers to apply for funding to search for the remains they believe are buried in dozens of unmarked graves on the Dozier campus. Until now, their investigation has been limited to examining historical documents, using ground-penetrating radar, and analyzing soil samples.
Nelson, along with State Attorney Glenn Hess, Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter, USF researches and Department of Juvenile Justice officials will tour the Dozier site tomorrow.
The USF team hopes to begin exhuming the grave sites as early as next week. They're waiting a judge to rule on Attorney General Pam Bondi's request for a court order, allowing the medical examiner to exhume the sites.
For years, former Dozier students have claimed the staff abused, tortured, even killed classmates, and buried their bodies in Boot Hill cemetery. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the claims several years ago and did not find enough evidence to pursue the case.