Jackson Co. Files Motion to Intervene State's Petition to Exhume Bodies Buried at Dozier

By: Bergen Baucom
By: Bergen Baucom

Marianna- Many questions surround the impending dig on the Dozier School for Boys "Boot Hill" cemetery.

Researchers want to know who, and how many bodies are there- and how they died- by digging up the burial sites.

Jackson County officials want to know, if the University of South Florida research team was granted approval to exhume the bodies, who was going to pick up the estimated $200,000 tab?

"State law requires that the state pay for it" explained local historian, Dale Cox. "But, the state so far has not passed an appropriation to pay for it."

The possibility of having to cover exhumation costs was not the County's only concern.

"With the medical examiner not making any criminal allegations in regard to the cemetery, [the County] wants to make sure that any local people who live in Jackson County who have loved ones buried out there, are able to have their say about whether they're loved ones are exhumed or not" Cox said.

But, University of South Florida researcher Erin Kimmerle said Wednesday, no one had enough documentation to know who was buried on Boot Hill.

"There are 31 current crosses there that commemorate the burials. In doing this work, we estimate up to 50 burial shafts in what we've done so far. That's not a concrete number, that's just our best estimate" explained Kimmerle.

Cox disagreed. "I believe there are 52" he said. "Plus a peacock named Sue and two dogs who were pets of the boys at Dozier."

As of Thursday, Judge William Wright had not reached a decision on Bondi's petition. None of the County Commissioners, nor County Attorney Frank Baker, were available for comments.


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