Nearly 50 graves found on the Arthur Dozier School for Boys grounds in Florida offer clues to solving the mystery surrounding the missing bodies of former students. The alleged abuse which occurred at the reform school for boys reportedly left approximately 80 children unaccounted for — until now.
While the bodies of 50 boys are cloaked in secrecy, the remains at the small cemetery may point investigators on a path to finally finding some answers about what happened inside the gates of the now defunct facility.
University of South Florida anthropologist, Dr. Erin Kimmerle, had this to say about the Arthur Dozier School for Boys:
“These are children who came her and died, for one reason or another, and have just been lost in the woods. We found burials within the current marked cemetery and then we found burials that extend beyond that. For the majority, there’s no record of what happened to them. It’s about restoring dignity.”
Dr. Kimmerle is the leader in a research effort to find out what happened at the reformatory for boys in Marianna, according to the Miami Herald. Through the use of ground-penetrating radar, the team has been able to unearth 49 graves so far, leading to the discovery of 18 bodies, Radar Online notes.
The startling abuse allegations at the Arthur Dozier School for Boys include claims of rape and violent beatings. When the boys misbehaved, they were allegedly sent to the “White House” a building comprised of cinder block, as punishment, prompting the phrase “White House Boys” to refer to the scores of young men who claim they were taken to the structure and severely abused.
Ovell Smith Krell, 83, told the investigation team that her brother, Owen, was sent to the Florida reform school after he ran away from home and stole a car in 1940. The family never saw Owen again; they were told that the boy spent the night outside, died due to a cold induced by exposure, and had been buried.