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USF request to exhume bodies denied for second time

USF researchers’ exhumation request for the Dozier School for Boys was denied again on Monday, bringing into question whether or not families and friends of boys possibly buried there will ever receive closure.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a letter to the head researchers the state understood the importance of telling the story of the Dozier school, but the Department of State didn’t “have the statutory authority to fulfill (USF’s) request.”

Researchers met with State Attorney General Pam Bondi on Tuesday in order to follow up with the letter.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, researchers said they believed Detzner misunderstood the authority his office has under Florida law “specifically in USF researchers’ discovery of what appears to be unidentified human remains at the Dozier site and the danger of those remains being destroyed.”

They expressed their continued commitment to research at the school.

“The university also remains committed to fulfilling this project on behalf of the families of untold numbers of children who were buried at Dozier in unmarked graves and these families’ fundamental right to have their relatives’ remains identified and buried in a proper and
respectful manner,” the press release said.


— Staff report