Researchers discover remains of five more at Dozier School for Boys in Marianna

Researchers looking for more victims' families

TAMPA - University of South Florida researchers have discovered 55 graves at the Dozier School for Boys, five more than they previously believed existed at the shuttered north Florida reform school with a history of extreme abuse.

The number of burials is also 24 more than official records indicate, said Erin Kimmerle, a USF associate professor leading a team of researchers who began excavating graves on the Marianna property in September. The burials that have gone unrecorded underscore the necessity of exhuming the remains, she said.

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"We want to help bring the facts to light," Kimmerle said.

Researchers have now begun work to identify the remains using DNA analysis at the University of North Texas, Kimmerle said. Researchers are also trying to date the burials of the boys using the numerous artifacts uncovered during the excavations, including pieces of coffins, some of them built on the campus.

Work began last year to exhume graves at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, which opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 for budgetary reasons. Former inmates from the 1950s and 1960 have detailed horrific beatings and abuse at the school.

In September, researchers discovered the remains of two children, possibly between the ages of 10 and 13.

The team hasn't given up searching for more graves, Kimmerle said, and they plan to continue looking using ground-penetrating radar and tips from residents.

To assist in identify the remains, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is distributing a list of 41 names of boys believed to be buried on the property.

To see a list of names go here:

Ovell Krell, who spoke at the news conference on the excavation's status, hopes the remains of her brother, George Owen Smith, are among those found.

"It's like buying a lottery ticket," she said. "I've got as good a chance as anybody."

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