USF Researchers Meet With US Senator About Dozier School


New developments Tuesday in the old Dozier School for Boys investigation that is sure to stir some controversy.

The lead University of South Florida researcher, who's been excavating grave sites on the campus, presented some of her findings to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. They've also come up with a composite of one of the alleged victims.

"Then where are they, you know?"

When he hears about the discoveries at the old Dozier School for Boys and the graves dug up, former resident Robert Straley has one word.

"Vindication. Because when we first started out we couldn't get anybody to even believe this story," Robert Straley, former Dozier Inmate, said.

Researchers - and a U.S. senator - are still trying to figure out what happened to boys who died or disappeared here at the school in Marianna for so many years. But they're getting closer to finding out who it happened to.

"He was aged 10 to 12 and African American," Dr. Erin Kimmerle, University of South Florida, said.

USF researchers created this facial composite from remains found at the site.

"We don't have any thing specific as to cause of death."

The boy's remains were found in a plain pine box.

"We owe it to the families to get to the bottom of this so they can bring closure on what happened to their loved ones," Senator Bill Nelson, (D) Florida, said.

Part of piecing together this story involves finding families of boys who were there and getting DNA samples.

These are some of the boys' whose families they're still trying to find. Like Hylton Finley, who died in 1918. He was from Tampa.

Out at the site, researchers have used ground penetrating sonar but the 1,400 acre property is vast.

"We've been extensive but when you're looking for skeletal remains from children you years ago, you could be next to it and miss it."

So there could be more stories out there for former Dozier boys and their families to learn. Marianna historian Dale Cox claims Kimmerle has not found anything new at the Dozier campus.

Sen. Nelson says if the investigation turns up evidence of a serious crime such as homicide, it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But most believe if there is anyone responsible for such a crime, they are most likely dead.


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