Flood Warning issued September 21 at 9:11AM EDT expiring September 22 at 10:00AM EDT in effect for: Hillsborough
The remains of a 14-year-old Polk County boy who disappeared in 1940 from the now-shuttered Dozier School for Boys have been positively identified through DNA as George Owen Smith.
The announcement was made Thursday at the University of South Florida.
Smith's remains was found in one of nearly 50 unmarked graves in the woods using ground penetrating radar on the reform school's property.
Dozier was shut down in 2011 amidst allegations of sexual and severe physical abuse.
Family members still searching for their loved ones' remains gave DNA samples in June of 2013 hoping to find closure after decades.
Smith's sister, Ovell Krell, said finding her missing brother is the answer to her family's prayers. "I wake up sometimes and think I dreamed it," Krell said.
She said she made a vow to her parents on their deathbeds that she would find Owen.
Smith's grave was shallow, only two feet deep. His unmarked grave was the first to be excavated by researchers.
They discovered that Smith had been buried in a "hasty" manner in a wooden casket. He was on his side with his hands by his head. A medical examiner will try to determine the cause of death.
PHOTOS: Researchers unearth remains
Smith's remains will be buried between his parents' graves in Polk County.
"These were children," said State Attorney general Pam Bondi. "One of them had a marble in his pocket."
The state permit to dig at the Dozier property has been extended for another year. It's believed there my be more unmarked graves.