Dozier School Dig Unearths Bodies of at Least 55 Boys

Categories: News

wooden_cross.jpg
Zorro2212 via Wikimedia Commons
Three years after it was finally closed, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys continues to belch up its foul secrets. The infamous Panhandle reform school was shut in 2011 after more than a century of shocking stories, including the deaths of dozens of black youths and the abuse of Miami teens.

But yesterday authorities announced they had unearthed 55 bodies -- more than twice the official tally -- from behind the cursed institution.

See also: No Budget for Sadism: Arthur G. Dozier Boys' School to Close

Even before the school closed, state officials began looking into the small bodies buried behind Dozier. In 2010, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced there were 31 official gravesites at the "reform school" near the Alabama-Georgia border.

The University of South Florida was commissioned to lead an excavation, with remains sent to Texas for DNA testing, Reuters reported.

The bodies were found in the woods across a busy highway from the school. Officials are now focused on another nearby area nicknamed "Boot Hill."

Justin_Caldwell.jpg
Justin Caldwell before his Dozier nightmare.
The school has a long history of abuse, dating back to its opening in 1900. Most of the bodies are believed to belong to black children who died early in the 20th Century.

In 1903, investigators found children shackled like prisoners, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Decades later, boys were still being beaten bloody with leather straps. And in the 1980s, "investigators found that boys were being hogtied and kept in isolation for weeks at a time."

See also: Free Justin! Despite well-documented injustice, a Pembroke Pines boy remains in jail

In 2007, New Times wrote about the case of Justin Caldwell, a Miami boy who was nearly beaten to death by Dozier guards but remained locked up there.

In 2008, a group of former inmates calling themselves the White House Boys persuaded the state to conduct an investigation into the deaths of Dozier inmates, whose graves were marked by nothing more than white crosses among the tall pines.

Officials hope that unearthing the graves will allow them to identify the boys' bodies and finally bury some of Dozier's many ghosts.

"Locating 55 burials is a significant finding, which opens up a whole new set of questions for our team," USF professor Erin Kimmerle told Reuters. "All of the analyses needed to answer these important questions are yet to be done, but it is our intention to answer as many of these questions as possible."

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21 comments
centerstageradio
centerstageradio

"Did the State of Florida Allow Rapes, Torture and Murder at Dozier Reform School," a must hear podcast. Listen as many survivors of Dozier called into internet radio show Center Stage and told of being verbally, physically, and sexually abused during their time at the Florida School for Boys. One survivor even told of seeing human remains while there on more than one occasion . They also told what they felt the state of Florida owed them, and asked for the public's help in contacting the governor and senator's office on their behalf.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centerstage/2014/02/01/did-the-state-of-florida-allow-rapes-torture-and-murder-at-dozier-reform-school

Nick Perdue
Nick Perdue

Sickening. Florida has tons of institutions like this. Backwater christian "reform" schools who take part in "spare the rod, spoil the child" philosophy. No regulation on practice either because of their religious "rights". The whole system should be taken down.

Allison Kotzig
Allison Kotzig

Deeply horrifying. Though i am glad that it is being reported upon

Génesis Cuesta
Génesis Cuesta

To think I used to work here and never knew what was underneath....

Robert Stack
Robert Stack

this is a story worth to follow.... Here is the great question why has not anybody to this day arrested for such abuse HELL we are talking about times into the 2000s ?????

Anastasia Biltmore
Anastasia Biltmore

I hear stories like this and wonder what the hell is going on in these "for profit" prisons that we keep hearing horror stories coming out of. This kind of abuse has not stopped- it has just migrated into a more closed system.

Victor Fernandez
Victor Fernandez

This is kind if news we the public should be aware of..about time .

Christina Ellis-Pfau
Christina Ellis-Pfau

I have followed this story since the Miami Herald started reporting on it. It pulls at my heart strings. It saddens me so when I hear of children being betrayed by the adults who should have been helping, teaching and keeping them safe. I hope they find every body that was not accounted for and are able to locate their families so that they can have closure.

Jesse Smith
Jesse Smith

Carolina Quackenbush it was back in the days when all that happened..

Jesse Smith
Jesse Smith

I worked there for 3 yrs and it always seemed haunted...kids complained about it being haunted...

Casey DeBord
Casey DeBord

I seriously need to just become a recluse. I can't handle all these abuse and neglect cases that have been in my feed. I am losing the little faith I had left in people.

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

The stories I was told, partly to keep us in line, where horrific. It was a scary place for any child, good or bad. Usually many would pay for the fault of one. being handcuffed to beds at night, being placed in small dirty isolation cells. and I can say it was alot worse for the black child there was no education. it was a morbid site. I remember being told of the house that caught fire, and how people (children) died. I will say the that place never taught anything good.I feel for the families of the children buried out there. 

fitforyoumetoo
fitforyoumetoo

Karen

If you want to know the real truth google www.whitehouseboys.org

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