For more than a century, Florida’s notorious Dozier School for Boys served as a state-run correctional institution, its history plagued with stories of abuse.
Aside from accounts of brutal beatings, a number of boys are known to have died at the Marianna institution, their causes of death listed as “accident” or “unknown.” Laid to rest in makeshift, unmarked graves, the mystery behind their deaths and the location of all their bodies was never solved.
Now, anthropologists are looking for answers.
A forensic anthropology team from the University of South Florida is starting to exhume anonymous grave sites at the school.
Florida Sen. Kelli Stargel, of Lakeland, Fla., has supported the excavation. She said the results may verify stories passed down through families and bring closure to those involved.
“I just think it’s important that we at least do everything we can to make sure we have an accurate story,” Starshel said. “That we know what happened, and that we can help these families be able to just end the speculation.”