State Wants More Information Before Deciding Whether to Allow Dozier Dig

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Marianna- Getting permission to exhume bodies buried on boot hill at the old dozier school for boys in Marianna has become an ordeal for lead USF researcher, Erin Kimmerle.

Several former students of the former Marianna reform school have claimed guards abused and even murdered classmates then buried them on a section of the school's property referred to as Boot Hill Cemetery.

Judge William Wright denied State Attorney General Pam Bondi's petition to dig up the graves, so the researchers asked the state archaeologist for permission.

Friday, State Archaeologist and Chief Mary Glowaski sent a two page letter telling the team Kimmerle's research was incomplete.

The state asked for a final report from Kimmerle's ground penetrating radar survey and more historical documentation, among dozens of other requests, to review before reaching a decision.

Senator Bill Nelson has worked to get the team the help they need to dig. But during a phone interview Friday, Nelson told us Kimmerle was running out of time.

"She has until July 1 to get a permit by the state to continue" Senator Nelson explained, "otherwise her permits expire and the state can put the land up for sale. And watch out then if the state wants to sell the land so this can never be done if its owned by a private individual."

With Kimmerle's deadline just days away, submitting the required list of requested information could be a tall order to complete.

"Well, we'll find out if this is a stall tactic or not" Nelson said. "Hopefully it's not. Hopefully what you have is a request for legitimate information.There are some people who don't want these secrets uncovered. I can not imagine that would be [the case for] the state of Florida. We are trying to do a service for grieving families."

Nelson told us three families had submitted DNA samples to Dr. Kimmerle to aid in her research if exhumation permission is granted.


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