Two bodies identified, more horror unearthed at Dozier

Of the 55 bodies unearthed so far from the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys former grounds, USF anthropologists identified two more young boys among the unmarked graves.

The interim report, submitted by USF to the Florida cabinet last week, further details the discovery of a structure which survivors described as a “rape dungeon” where staff members molested victims younger than 12.


The USF archaeology team also found last week what appears to be a buckshot pellet in the remains of one of the boys.

The report comes at the end of a three-year-long exhumation that will conclude this summer.

The state-run reform school in Marianna had housed boys from age 6 to 21 from 1900 to 2011 until closing for budgetary reasons. 

In 2012, a research team led by USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle began excavation of the site after hundreds of allegations of abuse from former students over the last decade.

The investigation focuses on collecting DNA to identify the remains for family members. Along with University of North Texas, USF has been able to track down 18 relatives so far.

There have been five boys identified as of now. The latest two are Sam Morgan, a student who died of unknown causes, and Bennett Evans, an employee who died in a fire.

For the report, researchers spoke to former Dozier students who claim to have been sexually abused. They also claim to be able to identify their abusers, some of whom may still be alive.

The pellet found at the site was discovered in what researchers believe to have been the boy’s hip. At the time of his death, the young man was estimated to be between 14 and 17 years old.

While the projectile has not yet been confirmed to be the cause of death, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Detective Greg Thomas said an object of that size could cause fatal injury. However, the body was too deteriorated to tell for certain.

The latest report also stated that university researchers found a number of syringes and drug bottles, as well as a cooler containing remains of a dog.

The USF team will continue excavation and research until August, during which they will look to locate and exhume the remains of those killed in a dormitory that burned down in 1914.