5 things to read before 'The Lost Bones, our new report on Dozier School for Boys (w/trailer)
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 2:25pm
For more than a century, children at the Dozier School for Boys were beaten savagely, forced to do hard labor, confined and shackled in ways that made a mockery of
officials' talk about reforming delinquent kids. In 2009, a series of stories in the Tampa Bay Times documented the decades of abuse and the state of Florida's
unwillingness to do anything about it. Those stories, called "For Their Own Good," led to the closure of the reform school in 2011.
Locking the gate didn't answer what had happened to the dozens of boys who never made it home. Where were they buried and how had they died? Erin Kimmerle, a
young anthropologist at the University of South Florida who had investigated mass graves in Peru and the Balkans, took it upon herself to find answers for the families
of the boys. To get at the truth meant digging up long-buried remains and unearthing secrets that many in the surrounding community didn't want exposed.
Times reporter Ben Montgomery and photographer Edmund Fountain were given access to observe Kimmerle and the USF anthropologist team as they worked
methodically to dig up the oppressed past buried beneath Marianna, as well as the excavation of a Dozier runaway's grave in Philadelphia and the analysis of the
remains in the laboratory in Tampa.
Part one of '"The Lost Bones" comes to tampabay.com on Thursday and will be printed in a special section of the Times on Sunday. Here are five things to read before
the new series:
1. For their own good: a St. Petersburg Times special report on child abuse at the Florida School for Boys (Published: April 2009). Dozens of men who were
physically and sexually abused at the state's oldest reform school come forward to confront their painful pasts and demand justice.
2. Florida juvenile justice: The dead at Dozier (Published: December 2009). The Florida Department of Law Enforcement closes its investigation of the Boot Hill
cemetery, but questions remain about where 50 boys are buried.
3. After a century of pain, former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys closes (Published: June 2011). One former ward makes a painful pilgrimage to Marianna to
bear witness to the closing of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys after 111 years in operation.
4. Federal investigation confirms abuse at Dozier, suggests children in danger at other facilities (Published: December 2011). The Department of Justice
blasts the state for failing to treat and protect boys at the reformatory, saying in a report that "youth may well be leaving the system with additional physical and
psychological barriers to success."
5. USF team looks for lost graves at closed Dozier School for Boys (Published: May 2012). A team of anthropologists and archaeologists descend on the closed
school to see how many boys died in custody and where they're buried.