USF researchers will be breaking ground on the grave sites at the Dozier School for Boys in Mariana this Saturday, after a long legal struggle for a permit.
Earlier this month the Florida Cabinet approved a permit for exhumations on the gravesite located on the north side of campus, where researchers previously located 50 graves.
USF also announced on Wednesday that the Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded researchers a $423,528 grant to assist in the investigation. Senator Bill Nelson helped researchers identify the funding opportunity.
The NIJ press release said the grant was given specifically “to perform DNA testing and conduct forensic anthropological examinations of human remains for identification.”
According to the press release, the University of Texas Center for Human Identification will be tasked with performing all of the DNA testing and comparing samples taken from relatives of Dozier victims who never received closure on the deaths of their family members.
Erin Kimmerle, head researcher on the Dozier project, said the funding came at a pivotal time in the research.
“The NIJ offers an incredible program for cold cases and identification of
missing persons,” Kimmerle said in the press release. “This funding is critical for completing the next steps in our research at the Dozier School for Boys including excavating human remains and performing a full
anthropological analysis on them.”
– Staff report