Florida's Industrial Reform School System: Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys 1900 - Present


MARIANNA, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2013) - Anthropology researchers from the University of South Florida returned to the panhandle town of Marianna to begin excavation work on the piece of land within the grounds of the shuttered Dozier School for Boys. 

The team is following up on extensive historical research and investigative methods they've used, including GPR data analysis, allowing them to see below the surface.

"Over the past year and a half we did a lot of GPR and we did a lot of fieldwork where we dug trenches to confirm what we thought were grave shafts and look at the soil stratigraphy and confirm that that was in fact what we were interpreting the data to be. It was to some of those locations that we went back and began this work," said Associate professor of Forensic Anthropology Erin Kimmerle. 

USF graduate students trained in archaeology and forensic anthropology worked tediously lifting, sifting, and carving the layers of soil to uncover the human remains.


TAMPA, Fla. (June 14, 2013) - Researchers from the University of South Florida joined U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office to collect DNA samples from family members of boys who never returned home from the now closed Dozier School for Boys in Marianna Florida.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Press Conference

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2013) -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is supporting the work of University of South Florida researchers to locate and identify grave sites at a closed reform school in Florida's Panhandle.

On Friday, Nelson was briefed on the project by Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at USF and one of the lead researchers on the project who is examining burial sites at the former Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla. Nelson had asked Gov. Rick Scott to grant the researcher's request to remain on the state-owned land until their work is concluded.

December 2012 Research Update

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2012) -- A team of University of South Florida anthropologists and archaeologists have found at least 19 more graves at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., than has been officially reported.

Once the largest reform school in the nation, the century-old institution has been the subject of numerous investigations into abuse allegations and suspicious deaths of children held there.

Lost in the Woods

MARIANNA, Fla. (May 22, 2012) -- University of South Florida researchers are plotting grounds around a former boys reform school here in an effort to identify the number and locations of graves in and around a cemetery that potentially dates back to the early 1900s.

Led by forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, an assistant professor in USF's Department of Anthropology, the team has spent several days at the site off Interstate 10 in Florida's Panhandle mapping the area with ground penetrating radar and digging trenches to analyze soil displacements.