DNA testing of Dozier bones will take months

Fort Worth, TX -- The DNA testing of bones recently sent to the University of North Texas Health Science Center from the now-closed Dozier School for Boys in the Florida panhandle will likely take months to complete.

After University of South Florida researchers announced they'd unearthed 55 bodies at Dozier -- 24 more than official records said were buried there -- officials sent bone and tooth samples from 5 of the bodies to Texas for testing.

"It's not that it takes so much time to produce a DNA profile, it takes so much time to review the results and analyze the data and have a second person come in and analyze the date," said UNT Health Science Center associate professor Rhonda Roby.

"Our standards require us to have two independent scientists review that data and then we have a review of that case file and then we have... an administrative review. So the process can take many, many months."

Roby explains the testing process begins with sanding down a portion of the bones, then cutting out a section that can be pulverized into a powder.

Scientists say because of the age of the Dozier bones and because they don't yet know who they're going to cross-check the DNA with, to identify the remains they're using mitochondrial DNA.

"And so we can go to the individual's maternal aunt or we can go to the individual's maternal aunt's daughter who would be the person's cousin, or if that person isn't living we can go to their kids, male or female."

The Dozier School for Boys, located in Marianna closed in 2011.The school has been the subject of rape and abuse accusations by former boys who were sent there.

USF researchers have a permit to continue looking for bodies buried at the school through early August.

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