University of South Florida researchers say they’ve discovered the remains of five more people than previously thought on the grounds of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys. Those looking for answers about what went on at the former North Florida reform school call it a bittersweet victory.
After digging in an area called Boot Hill Cemetery, researchers announced Tuesday they’d found and excavated 55 bodies—five more than they previously thought and 24 more than are found in the state’s official records. And, Robert Straley says while there’s more work to do, this is a triumphant moment.
“I’m happy with the way that it’s going. I never expected it to happen in the first place. When they closed Dozier, that’s really what we were after. And, this was just the icing on the cake, when they came in and started the exhumations, getting a grant to go in the graveyard,” said Straley.
Straley is a member of the so-called White House boys, a group who went to the school—where they say they and others were abused in a building called the White House—and some of their classmates were killed during the Marianna school’s about 100-year history.
Meanwhile, Lead Researcher Erin Kimmerle says she and her team plan to do more work over the next few months and will continue to locate families searching for answers about their loved ones.
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