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  1. #1
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    Remains of 55 bodies found near former Florida reform school

    (Reuters) - Excavations at a makeshift graveyard near a now-closed reform school in the Florida Panhandle have yielded remains of 55 bodies, almost twice the number official records say are there, the University of South Florida announced on Tuesday.

    "This is precisely why excavation was necessary," said USF professor Erin Kimmerle, head of the research project. "The only way to truly establish the facts about the deaths and burials at the school is to follow scientific processes."

    On a hillside in the rolling, tall-pine forests near the Alabama-Georgia border, a team of more than 50 searchers from nine agencies last year dug up the graves to check out local legends and family tales of boys, mostly black, who died or disappeared without explanation from the Dozier School for Boys early in the last century.

    The school, infamous for accounts of brutality told by former inmates, was closed by the state in 2011.

    The University of South Florida was commissioned to look into deaths at the school in the Panhandle city of Marianna, after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the presence of 31 official grave sites in 2010.

    Excavation began last September with bones, teeth and several artifacts from grave sites sent to the University of North Texas Science Center for DNA testing.

    Members of 11 families who lost boys at Dozier have been located by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for DNA sampling and researchers hope to find 42 more families for possible matching.

    State investigators initially located 31 suspected graves in the woods across a busy highway from the shuttered reform school. Kimmerle's more detailed probes raised the number to 50 or 51 last year, and USF announced on Tuesday the searchers had found remains of 55 bodies.

    "Locating 55 burials is a significant finding, which opens up a whole new set of questions for our team," said Kimmerle.

    "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."

    Research will continue in areas adjacent to the graveyard, dubbed "boot hill" by school officials and inmates a century ago.

    Greg Ridgeway, acting director of the National Institute of Justice, praised Kimmerle's work. He said the discoveries made by the USF team "will not only bring resolution to these cases but will add to our knowledge about investigations of missing and unidentified persons in jurisdictions throughout the country."

    Remains of 55 bodies found near former Florida reform school | Reuters

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    ENT
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    Just to follow on from the article,


    Dozier School for Boys
    The White House Boys use images like this one to tell the brutal story of the Dozier School on their website thewhitehouseboysonline.com. (Photo: Florida State University)

    University of South Florida anthropologists have unearthed a total of 50 unmarked graves at The Dozier School for Boys in Mariana, Fla. Graves found at the reform school date back as far as 1914. In their official report, USF anthropologists stated that "records indicate that 45 individuals were buried on the school grounds between the years 1914-1952, 31 bodies were shipped to other locations for burial, and 22 cases do not have recorded burial locations."

    Graves found at the reform school were dug for boys who were likely subject to physical abuse and had succumb to a variety of complications. Researchers also noticed a correlation between boys who died and boys who tried to escape, as well as a high mortality rate among boys in their first three months at the school.

    "Infectious disease, fires, physical trauma, and drowning are the most common recorded causes of death when a cause of death is recorded," the report states. "Other mortality patterns show trends among the boys that died including deaths following attempted escapes from the school, a high number of boys who died within the first three months of being remanded to the school and inconsistency among those who were issued death certificates."

    "We found nearly twice as many burials as were thought to exist," USF Team Leader Erin Kimmerle told The Global Dispatch. She also noted that there was a racial component present in the findings. "The majority of boys committed to the school and that died there were African American."

    She cited the role of segregation as the primary explanation for the higher mortality rate among African-American boys at the school. Dr. Kimmerle also spoke to local TV station WTSP and dismissed notions of a conspiracy.

    "I don't want to say that it was a cover-up. I think there was sloppy bookkeeping, I think that there were efforts throughout its history where they did try to project a certain image," she said.

    Graves found at the reform school create an image already being crafted by former tenants of Dozier. Known as 'The White House Boys,' a group of men who were subjected to abuses there began speaking out about conditions at the Dozier School. There are around 300 men in the group, almost all of whom spent time in the Dozier School in the '50s and '60s. Some graves found at the reform school date to this time period. The name 'White House Boys' refers to a white house on school grounds where boys were taken to receive seemingly random beatings. One of the 'White House Boys,' Jerry Cooper, spoke to NPR in October about his time there.

    "You didn't know when it was coming," said Cooper, who was sent to the school at 16 for car theft. "These were not spankings. These were beatings, brutal beatings."

    Cooper's first beating occurred in the 'white house.' He was rousted from bed around 2 a.m. and taken to the 'white house' where he was tied to a bed and beaten with a leather strap until he passed out. A boy in an adjacent room told Cooper the next day he counted 135 lashes.

    Cooper acknowledges that many of the boys were troublemakers, but none deserving of the brutality meted out by the staff. The graves found at the reform school included boys who were orphans and sent to Dozier because they were guilty of the crime of having no where to go.

    "We weren't bad kids. We might have needed help in some respect. But that wasn't the place to find it," Cooper told NPR.

    Although former Florida Governor Charlie Crist ordered an investigation into the allegations, the findings concluded there wasn't enough evidence to support the group's claims of abuse. Another White House Boy, Roger Kiser, told NPR that "it all boils down to civil liability" and that the Florida government doesn't want any hard evidence that could open it up to potential lawsuits.

    The graves found at the reform school could change all that.

    Thomas Varnadoe died under suspicious circumstances while at the school in 1934. He was 13-years-old. The Dozier School provided no information on how he died or where he was buried. Both facts still upset his family.

    "The fact that his death certificate reflects no autopsy and no undertaker was suspicious," Glen Varnadoe, Thomas Varnadoe's nephew told WTSP on Monday. The Varnadoe family has filed a lawsuit and wants to exhume Thomas' body from the graves found at the reform school so they can bury him alongside his mother.

    The Dozier School for Boys was shut down by state officials in 2011. It was called the Florida State Reform School when it opened in 1900, before changing its name to the Florida School for Boys and then The Dozier School for Boys.

    Graves Found At Reform School: 50 Unmarked Graves, 98 Deaths At The Dozier School - International Science Times

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    Jesus that's a real live Brubaker isn't it?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT
    "I don't want to say that it was a cover-up. I think there was sloppy bookkeeping,
    Oh excuse me, I thought we were talking about people??????

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    What part of Thailand is this?

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    ENT
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    ^ USA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post
    ^ USA.
    US of A, you moran

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    ENT
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    I sinecurely proplogise 4 m err.

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    If you ever lived in Florida or the south for that matter... this would not surprise you..

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    It's a shocking fact to have to face, innit?

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    This sort of thing would never occur in Thailand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurgen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ENT
    "I don't want to say that it was a cover-up. I think there was sloppy bookkeeping,
    Oh excuse me, I thought we were talking about people??????
    It was that quote that jumped out at me, too. Unbelievable trying to gloss over something like this.

    Once read a Stephen King book "The Talisman" and part was based in a school/facility like this. You tend to think that they only exist in imagination. Very sad.

  13. #13
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    How terrifying for them it must have been...RIP...

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    Kind of gulag, isn't it? Tell me more about freedom and democracy.

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    well Rainfall...

    many years ago black folk had a little different freedom and democracy. They had the freedom to not eat in restaurants... use public toilets or even drink out of a water fountain. They had the freedom to give up their seat on a bus to a white person and move to the back. The freedom to not look a white person in the eye and the freedom to keep their mouth shut. The democracy provided in those Jim Crow laws were all they needed to enjoy their part in American dream.

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    'Rape dungeon' allegations emerge in abuse report on Dozier School for Boys

    Two more boys identified as three-year dig and investigaton of the abuse inflicted on mostly black students at the now-closed Florida school nears final stages



    Forensic researchers sifting the grounds of a notorious Florida reform school at the centre of a decades-long abuse scandal have identified the remains of two more bodies from 51 recovered so far from unmarked graves.

    The investigative team has also revealed horrific new allegations about the extent of physical and sexual abuse inflicted on the mostly African American students at the now-closed Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, including details of a secret “rape dungeon” where victims younger than 12 were taken to be molested.

    The revelations come in an interim report submitted to Florida’s senior politicians by Tampa-based anthropologists from the University of South Florida as they prepare for the final stages of their three-year dig at the school.

    The team’s leader, Erin Kimmerle, said that while charges against the perpetrators were unlikely, due to the deaths of many former staff members and the statute of limitations on crimes that took place up to a century ago, their work was important to the survivors and victims’ families.

    “After three years our focus is more than ever on the present, educating the living about what happened in the past, mourning with families of those who died at Dozier and supporting them as they seek justice,” she said in the report.

    “Even in cases where law enforcement and prosecutors are unable to file criminal charges, transparency and acknowledgement of the abuses are important components for reconciling conflict.”

    The researchers found that officials “consistently under-reported” the number of deaths that occurred at the school between its opening in 1900 and 1960, the latest date for which records are currently publicly available, and that numerous bodies were buried with slack or missing documentation outside the marked cemetery known as Boot Hill.

    One set of remains was found with what appeared to be a shotgun pellet, Kimmerle said, while others showed signs of blunt force trauma and “substantial evidence” of malnutrition, infections and a near-total absence of dental care.

    Among the allegations of a group of survivors known as the White House Boys, nicknamed for the building in which they say they suffered the worst abuse, are accounts of youths being beaten unconscious while chained to walls or beds, raped by staff and other students in a basement or simply disappearing after excessive punishments for minor infractions such as smoking or truancy.

    The USF report contains details of a six-year-old boy who died after being sent out to work as a houseboy, and a teenager who was found shot to death and covered by a blanket after running away from the school.

    “It’s been exciting to get a picture of these children, and their lives, from the science,” Kimmerle said. “[But] it’s sad the way people treated each other. It’s a window on a period of a lot of change from the early [20th] century to the 1960s.”

    The university team has now positively identified five bodies from those recovered, either through DNA or contextual evidence. The latest two are 18-year-old Sam Morgan, who spent at least two spells at the school following his first arrival in September 1915, and Bennett Evans, an adult school employee believed to have died in a dormitory fire in 1914.

    Last August, Ovell Krell, the sister of the first victim to be identified, George Owen Smith, who disappeared from the school in 1940 at the age of 14, told the Guardian of her relief at the solving of a 74-year mystery.

    “It’s been an emotional journey and now I can finally get some closure, some peace of mind,” she said.

    State lawmakers approved grants of almost half a million dollars to fund the USF investigation shortly after the school was closed, for financial reasons, in 2011. A year earlier a report by the Florida department of law enforcement, which recorded only 32 graves, concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove or refute the allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

    Kimmerle said that the researchers were working with the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office to find surviving family members of boys who attended the school who could provide DNA samples to match with unidentified remains.

    “There is a lot of work left to do, in the field, in the lab and filling in the gaps in the records and archives we have,” she said.


    'Rape dungeon' allegations emerge in abuse report on Dozier School for Boys | US news | The Guardian

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