Scientists prepare to exhume bodies at Dozier School for Boys in the Florida panhandle 03/27/2013 By Carson Chambers
….Wards of the defunct Dozier School for Boys, children, are buried in the Marianna, Florida graveyard. Ground-penetrating radar revealed nearly 50 unmarked graves that the state never detected. “Like a sorority or a fraternity, everything was closed-mouth,” said Bryant, talking about his town.
Bryant, 79, grew-up in Marianna with the silence in the woods. He heard the hushed stories of boys who were beaten, tortured, or worse: Disappeared.
He says his town was complicit in keeping these secrets. “Nobody knew anything or was going to tell you anything,” he said.
Bryant tells a story he heard about Dozier boys running away at night. He says a group called the “Dog Boys” would wait for them in the woods.
“The dogs would about tear them to pieces and they would holler and yell,” he says. “How many? What happened to them? Were there crimes committed?” asked U.S. Senator Bill Nelson standing atop Boot Hill on Wednesday.
Now, after nearly a century of quiet, Nelson, University of South Florida researchers and a Tampa Bay family searching to bring their loved one home, may have made enough noise to answer these questions. They are pushing for a massive exhumation of an unknown number of bodies.
“We were uncovering what was clearly grave shafts,” said USF’s Dr. Erin Kimmerle.
Her team of anthropologists have spent months mapping the Boot Hill Cemetery. Their work turned up nearly 20 more graves than the Florida Department of Law Enforcement originally documented. They have asked family members of missing boys for DNA samples to help them identify remains.
“If there were crimes committed, remember the statute of limitations never runs out on murder,” said Senator Nelson.
Now a court order sits on a judge’s desk. A signature would mean the USF team would return to the site to begin work….
Dozier School for Boys survivor Captain Bill Nelson speaks out for first time Captain Bill Nelson says he was beaten, assaulted
03/29/2013 By Carson Chambers
MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. ….Nelson is speaking out for the first time about the two-and-a-half years he spent at the Dozier School for Boys. Just a skinny 11-year old, he was sent away for a crime he was later exonerated of.
“I was raped over there as a kid, and there were several boys raped. Anything we spoke out about, we went to the White House,” he said.
It’s a story many Dozier boys never lived to tell. “A lot of boys didn’t make it. They weren’t strong enough to make it,” said Nelson.
….”Sometimes at night you could hear the screams,” said Nelson.
It’s a small building where the temperature drops inside and paint peels off the walls and where Nelson remembers being tortured.
“Sometimes you stayed two or three days in chains and they beat you and you know, some of them made it. Some of them didn’t,” he said. What do you think happened to them? “Well,” said Nelson, “they were beaten to death. Soon the Dozier graveyard, known as Boot Hill, may become a crime scene.
“We’ll work together with the Medical Examiner and do skeletal autopsies basically, which then allows for identification through DNA,” said USF’s Dr. Erin Kimmerle….
The state shut down the institution for wayward boys in 2011 after allegations of abuse and suspicious deaths….