Researchers to discuss Dozier findings

By Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Apr 15 2014 06:00:41 AM EDT
MARIANNA, Fla. -

Researchers from the University of South Florida will meet with US Senator Bill Nelson Tuesday to discuss the excavation of the graveyard at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

The former reform school in the Panhandle has come under investigation in recent months after former students from the 50s and 60s accused employees and guards of physical and sexual abuse, but an investigation couldn't substantiate or dispute the claims.

This has been a nightmare for many families who believe their loved ones remains are in unmarked graves at the Dozier School. Today researchers will share with Senator Nelson what they have found at the school.

"It doesn’t make sense that you go there and can't come back as a child,” said Reginald Bouie.

Bouie is one of many former students who said he was beaten multiple times at the Dozier School in the late 1950s. His family said their cousin was buried in an unmarked grave, leaving them with questions for decades.

Tuesday, researchers from the University of South Florida will talk with Senator Bill Nelson about those unmarked graves and what they've found.

"If we can identify those individuals, it’s an absolute success,” said researcher Erin Kimmerle.

The USF researchers will talk about information on DNA testing and reveal the first facial composite of one of the sets of remains excavated from the site.

Bouie is still one of many waiting for answers.

"If you can bring closure to any family, you know I think that's what it is. You can't change what happened,” said Bouie.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded after an investigation that it couldn't substantiate or dispute the claims of abuse.

The meeting between Nelson and the researchers is set to take place Tuesday at his Tampa office.

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