Decision to exhume bodies at Dozier nears - WFLA News Channel 8

Decision to exhume bodies at Dozier nears

Posted: Updated:
George Owen Smith, sent to Dozier in 1940 at age 13, never seen again. George Owen Smith, sent to Dozier in 1940 at age 13, never seen again.
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

The Florida Cabinet is set to discuss the former Dozier school of boys on Tuesday. The school was located in the Panhandle and operated as a reform school for decades in Florida.

Anthropologists at the University of South Florida say they have discovered a number of unmarked graves at the site.  They need permission from the state of Florida to exhume the graves.

7/22/2013 Related Story: Sen. Nelson critical of state response on Dozier

So far, the state of Florida has blocked the efforts of U.S.F. Anthropologist, Dr. Erin Kimmerle to exhume the graves at the school.

Dr. Kimmerle and her team say they have used ground penetrating radar at the site of the school and identified more than one hundred unmarked graves.

7/10/2013 Related Story: USF professor submits more evidence for Dozier exhumation

Dr. Kimmerle will be in Tallahassee for the discussion. She says the U.S.F. Team can begin work at Dozier later this month if they receive permission to excavate.

Lakeland resident Ovell Krell says he has been waiting for answers about the disappearance of her brother since 1940.  He was sent to Dozier and never seen again.

Krell says her brother was a born musician.  "He could walk into a music store and play any instrument he picked up. He ran away from home because he was a musician. He was born with music in his soul."

Krell says at the age of 13, her brother ran away and soon ran into trouble.  She remembers her brother meeting a 19 year old boy from Georgia and they were both accused of stealing a car.

Krell says, "The older boy said my brother stole the car and they wrecked it.  My brother didnt know to drive and I'm certain he did not steal the car."

Krell says her parents were never advised of a trial or even a hearing and her brother was sent to a reform school in Marianna, Florida in 1940.

The reform school would later be known as the Dozier school for boys.

Krell says her brother was beaten by guards at the school after he tried to run away.

"Back then, we got a letter from my brother and it was his handwriting, and he said, they brought me back and these words are just in my brain; he said, I got what was coming to me." says Krell.

Others who were sentenced to attend Dozier have testified in hearings that they too were beaten at the school.

Some say they witnessed some young boys beaten to death at the school, but the deaths were never reported.

Ovell Krell says, "I say to Governor Scott, the ball is in your court, you have the authority, you can do it, and everybody else has passed us up.  So, if there is any decency at all in our Governor tomorrow he will pass this."

Follow us on Twitter @wfla

  • NewsMore>>

  • Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:41 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:41:38 GMT
    Pro-Russian militiamen who control government buildings in eastern Ukraine are showing no sign of relenting despite a deal between Moscow and Kiev.
    Dashing hopes of progress raised by a diplomatic deal in Geneva, pro-Russian insurgents who have occupied government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities said Friday they will not leave them until the country's...
  • Pakistan library named 'bin Laden' as memory fades

    Pakistan library named 'bin Laden' as memory fades

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:00:57 GMT
    A spokesman for a controversial Pakistani cleric who runs an Islamic seminary for girls in the capital, Islamabad, says he has named the school's new library in honor of Osama bin Laden.
    Most didn't notice the new library at this Islamic seminary for girls near Pakistan's capital, until locals saw the paper sign in Urdu posted on its wooden door: "Library of Osama bin Laden, the Martyr."
  • Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:41 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:41:50 GMT
    An avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest on Friday along a route used to ascend the world's highest peak, killing at least six Nepalese guides and leaving nine more missing, officials said.
    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak. Several more were injured.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.