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After Finding No Further Remains Researches Say Work At Dozier Will Continue

Reasearchers searching for possible human remains at Dozier School for Boys
University of South Florida
University of South Florida

Researchers say they’re committed to continuing exploration of the grounds surrounding the now-shuttered Dozier School for Boys even after finding mostly tree roots in a recent investigation into 27 “anomalies” experts thought could be unmarked graves.

Over the past several years, the University of South Florida Researcher Erin Kimmerle and her team have discovered the human remains of 55 boys who had attended the school—which is linked to hundreds of accusations of mental, physical, and sexual abuse.

So when officials heard there could be more graves nearby, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee called on Kimmerle and her team to open another investigation.

"They will begin by trying to assess the anomalies to determine what they can about what those anomalies represent. What they find there will determine what is the appropriate next step for them," said Lee.

Kimmerle says in this case the anomalies were only the remains of pine trees. But an exploration of the rest of the grounds is expected to continue.

"Some of the things that we’ve been asked to do and that we will be doing this fall have to do with LiDAR," explains Kimmerle.

The LiDAR technology measures distance using laser light. But Lee says it's just the first step.

“The LiDAR will be the beginning steps for the archaeologist and anthropologist to assess whether or not additional work, including digging needs to occur in any area.”

Kimmerle says with the LiDAR technology the rest of the investigation will move quickly.

“Its a fairly quick process because when something is not a variable, its a tree stump thats immediately obvious and we can ultimately move on," said Kimmerle.

Lee says she wants to ensure the state takes it’s time to find all evidence wrongdoing related to the school.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.