A sixth family has now been reunited with the remains of their loved one buried on the troubled Panhandle property of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. University of South Florida Researchers looking into finding answers for more families also got an extension to continue their work until January of next year.
On Tuesday, lead USF researcher Erin Kimmerle announced she and her team have positively identified Robert Stephens by matching his DNA with that of his living nephew with the same name. In 1936, Stephens was sentenced to two years for breaking and entering. But, almost a year into his sentence, the school’s records state Stephens was stabbed to death by another inmate. Still, Robert Straley says no matter the circumstances, these boys deserve a proper burial.
“It’s as important as starting this thing that we end it correctly, that this doesn’t end up on a dusty shelf somewhere in the USF library. But, there’s a memorial where people can go to and physically touch it, you know, and see it and remember this happened. I mean boys were flogged for 68 years at this school and most of them were under the age of 12,” said Straley.
Straley is one of the so-called White House Boys, who say they survived the abuse at the school. Meanwhile, a reburial plan is in the works. A final report is also due January 2016.
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