Research into the Historic Boot Hill Cemetery at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna suggests more bodies are buried there than previously reported. The school that has been the center of abuse allegation for years.
A University of South Florida research team used archeological and archival research to document the historic cemetery. Historical records suggest a total of 98 deaths that occurred between 1914 and 1973. From the archives, researchers determined that 45 of the bodies were buried somewhere on school grounds, and at least 22 bodies are unaccounted for.
Currently, 31 metal crosses mark the cemetery. Through archeological research, however, using ground penetrating radar, the researchers found evidence of at least 50 grave shafts at the Boot Hill Cemetery. That is 19 more bodies than previously reported in the 2008-2009 Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.
USF researcher Christian Wells, who work on this project, believes even more bodies could be buried on school grounds. "We believe that the boundaries of the cemetery that we've managed to reconstruct are in fact quite a bit larger than previously reported. In the archival research that we've done, there's been some evidence that there might be an additional cemetery located somewhere on the school property," says Wells.
Wells also says because of the time frame, there could possibly be separate cemeteries for the White boys and the African American boys.
The 2008-2009, FDLE investigation looked into abuse allegation but concluded that no crimes were committed in association with the deaths that occurred.
In a statement to News 13, FDLE PIO Keith Kameg says, "We are aware of a recent report which has been written regarding the Dozier School for Boys. In the absence of any additional evidence we do not anticipate further criminal investigative action."