USF team reveals facial composite from Dozier site - WFLA News Channel 8

USF team reveals facial composite from Dozier site

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USF researchers released the first facial composite of a set of remains excavated at Dozier. USF researchers released the first facial composite of a set of remains excavated at Dozier.
In the effort to identify the remains of children buried at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, USF and HCSO is seeking the public's help. In the effort to identify the remains of children buried at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, USF and HCSO is seeking the public's help.

Researchers have created a facial composite of a young boy whose remains were found at the Dozier School for Boys, but have not yet identified him.

“He was aged 10 to 12, and African American,” said Dr. Erin Kimmerle, who heads up the USF research team. “We don’t have anything specific on cause of death.”

Stories of abuse and the mystery surrounding deaths and disappearances of boys at the school decades ago have led families and state officials to push for answers and research at the site.

Researchers excavated 55 sets of remains at the school in the Florida panhandle, and are working to identify them. So far, researchers have received DNA results on seven of the boys, and all seven were determined to be African American, leading to more speculation that – due to segregation – there could still be another burial site for white boys yet to be found.

“I think eventually they’re going to find another cemetery,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who was briefed on the findings Tuesday by Kimmerle and Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee.

The sheriff’s office is working to find families of the boys whose remains were found at the site, and collect DNA samples so they can be identified.

“We owe it to the families to get to the bottom of this so they can bring closure on what happened to their loved ones,” Nelson said.

The researchers' permit lasts until August and there are about 1,400 acres to cover on a property. It's a property with 100 years of history on it.

"We've been extensive but when you're looking for skeletal remains of children from years ago you could be next to it and miss it," Kimberle said Tuesday.

Shrouding the property in mystery are those stories of beatings and other abuses coming from boys who once lived there. John Marx spent time both at a facility in Okeechobee and at Dozier in the early 60s. As a chaplin, he now helps counsel those dealing with the scars.

"You can tell they've had severe trauma in their life," Marx said. "Like it happened yesterday."

Although he never personally experienced beatings at Marianna, he said he came close and saw first-hand one time how serious they could get when another inmate tried to run away.

"One of the young men that received the most severe beating anyone could imagine," he said. "They immediately put you in the shower. So we were able to see what happened to him. From the middle of his back to his knees - it looked like hamburger."

News Channel 8's Josh Green contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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