55 Bodies Exhumed From Notorious Reform School
And final number could be higher, say researchers
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2014 6:37 AM CST
A Dec. 20, 2013 photo, provided by the University of South Florida, shows where researchers found some of the remains of 55 people in a graveyard at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla.   (AP Photo/Ho, University of South Florida Anthropology Team)

(Newser) – The remains of 55 bodies have been retrieved from unmarked graves at a notorious Florida reform school—almost twice the number that a 2009 inquiry determined were buried there, and five more than researchers were expecting, the Wall Street Journal reports. The now-shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, in the Panhandle town of Marianna, has been accused of rapes, beatings, and forced labor, and both relatives and survivors have long thought some residents' deaths were suspicious. Forensic anthropologists with the University of South Florida last year began exhuming graves in an effort to identify the boys, figure out how they died, and return their remains to their families for proper burials. All of the bodies, exhumed between September and December, appear to be those of children, CBS News reports; they were buried between the 1920s and 1950s, the AP adds.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement believed just 31 boys were buried in a cemetery on the grounds. But researchers could end up finding even more: Burial locations weren't always recorded, and the bodies found so far were all on the African-American side of the segregated school, which operated from 1900 to 2011. Researchers think there may be more boys buried on the white side, and they'll start excavating there next week. So far, 12 families have come forward offering DNA samples to compare to the remains, but researchers are still looking for relatives of more than 40 other boys.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
Jan 29, 2014 9:37 PM CST
wtf? this happened in the US?
Jan 29, 2014 8:14 PM CST
cali has plenty of agencies that will rush at the cry of abuse, its a shame that sometimes when it really happens victims dont get help i have seen plenty of times where allegations were made over not getting their way or just the entitlement "you owe me"...does anyone know if the movie sleepers was based on this school?
Jan 29, 2014 1:01 PM CST
did the "DNA providers" care about these poor souls when they were alive or only now.