Excavation of long-buried human remains from unmarked graves at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., will begin Saturday, reports the Miami Herald. The weekend work outside the Boot Hill section of the closed Panhandle reform school is expected to be the first in a number of digs to occur over the next year, supervised by the University of South Florida. DNA testing will be done on any remains found.
Questions have arisen about whether boys who reportedly died of pneumonia and other natural causes were killed at the school. The Legislature put $190,000 into the state budget to fund the research, determine the causes of death, identify remains, locate potential family members and cover the costs for any re-internment. The university researchers have a one-year window to search the grounds for reportedly unaccounted-for bodies of boys who died between 1900 and 1952.