MARIANNA - The Florida Secretary of State told USF anthropologists that he does not have the authority to issue archaeological permits to excavate human remains.
University of South Researchers suffer another defeat in their attempts to dig up human remains at the former Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
In a letter to told USF anthropologists (read attachment below), Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he does not have the authority to issue archaeological permits to excavate human remains.
Archeologist Erin Kimmerle wants to excavate suspected grave sites in the school's "Boot Hill Cemetery," as well as a second site just north of Boot Hill. She and her team are trying to account for, and identify, the remains of 22 people they believe to be buried in unmarked graves.
A group of former students at the reform school claim friends were tortured and murdered by Dozier staff, then buried in unmarked graves. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the claims several years ago, before the state closed the school for budgetary reasons. But USF Researchers say they found more graves than the FDLE during their research last year.
Bill Dozier, who has been pushing for the remains to be exhumed, sent the following tweet in reaction to the Secretary of State’s decision:
In a news release, Nelson added “At this point, it’s starting to look like a classic run-around. This is state-owned land, it’s the state’s responsibility and the state of Florida needs to do the right thing and not pass the buck.”
NewsChannel 7 contacted Governor Rick Scott’s office for comment. spokesman said "(The Governor's) heart goes out to the families who were involved and is proud that under his administration Dozier was shut down."