Nelson urges Justice Department to join Dozier graves investigation

By Ben Montgomery, Times Staff Writer

Sen. Bill Nelson on Wednesday called on the Department of Justice to assist a team of anthropologists and
archaeologists from the University of South Florida that has been investigating the deaths of nearly 100 children
at Florida's oldest reform school, the now-shuttered Dozier School for Boys outside the Panhandle town of
Marianna.

Nelson (D-Fla.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder after the USF team released a report on Monday
saying it had found 50 grave shafts on school property, 19 more than Florida Department of Law Enforcement
investigators found during an investigation in 2009.

"The reform school may yield some ugly reminders about our past, but we absolutely must get to the bottom of
this," Nelson said.

The USF team also said it believes there is another burial site on what had been the white side of campus before
integration in the late 1960s. Erin Kimmerle, a professor and forensic anthropologist, said Monday that she had
been in contact with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida to talk about how to proceed. The team is
continuing its investigation.

"For the sake of those who died and the family members still living, we've got to find out what happened at that
school," Nelson wrote to Holder. "I'm asking your department to provide support and assistance to USF
researchers in a broadened search to look for more graves, as well as forensic evidence of possible crimes. The
families deserve closure once and for all."


[Last modified: Dec 12, 2012 04:56 PM]