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'It was a concentration camp for kids' | Dozier School survivor opens up on traumatizing experience

Posted at 4:48 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 07:57:33-04

MARIANNA, Fla. -- There is a new update surrounding one of the darkest chapters in Florida history.

Crews found more possible graves near the Dozier School for Boys, a reform school for boys in Jackson County. According to Gov. Ron DeSantis' letter, a contractor using ground-penetrating radar discovered 27 "anomalies consistent with possible graves."

Dozier was shut down in 2011 after decades of sexual and physical abuse claims. USF researchers discovered more than 40 unidentified remains at the school the following year.

“It was a concentration camp for kids, that’s what it comes down to," said Terry Burns.

Burns spent nine months at the now shuttered school in the late 1960s.

Frequently beaten by staff, memories of his time there still haunt the Bradenton man.

“I’d always wake up and I’d, tears would be coming out of my eyes, my pillow would be soaked with tears just thinking about it because it was like I was there reliving that again,” Burns said.

Burns is part of a group known as the White House Boys, survivors who pushed for the reform school to close.

"We’ve always said there’s more dead boys on there," Burns said. “If they would scan that whole ground of that school, I guarantee they will find another 200 to 300 dead boys buried on them grounds.”

RELATED: 21 boys' bodies ID'd at Dozier school burial

RELATED: Florida lawmakers apologize for the torture and mysterious deaths children suffered at Dozier School

In 2016, forensics with USF was able to identify 21 of the boys' bodies that were found earlier in the decade. The USF forensics' report stops short of any criminal finding but revealed suspicious details surrounding the boys' remains.

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