More remains excavated at Fla. reform school yard

Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 04:53 PM.

Ovell Krell of Auburndale is one of the relatives who already has come forward, hoping to find out what happened to her brother. George Owen Smith was sent to Dozier when he was 14 in 1941, and he was found dead a couple of months later. His family never recovered his body, and Krell hopes to claim his remains and bury them with their parents at a family plot in central Florida.

“We are hoping for closure,” she said.

Another dig is scheduled next month. Nearby residents and former employees and inmates at the northwest Florida school are helping investigators determine other potential burial sites, Kimmerle said.

Dozier opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 for budgetary reasons.

Some former students from the 1950s and 1960s have accused employees and guards at the school of physical and sexual abuse, but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded after an investigation that that it could not substantiate or dispute the claims.

The University of South Florida secured a permit to exhume the remains after beginning its own research and verifying more deaths and graves than documented by law enforcement.



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