Dogs help in search for more bodies at Dozier

Marianna, FL -- Five specially trained dogs are helping University of South Florida researchers look for more bodies at the now closed Dozier School for Boys.

Last week USF officials announced they'd located 55 bodies at Dozier, 24 more than state records indicated.

Asked if she expects to find more remains, USF Professor of Anthropology Dr. Erin Kimmerle told 10 News on Tuesday, "You know I really don't know".

Kimmerle says the dogs were brought in to help search some of the more overgrown and remote parts of the Dozier 1,400-acre campus.

"There's hundreds of acres where there's thick woods and ground-penetrating radar in that amount of space is not an option."

Marian Beland, who brought her Portuguese Water Dog named Tracer from Connecticut to aid in the search says the canines are specially trained to locate human remains. She says the dog's acute scene of smell allows them to find bones that are buried several feet underground.

"The dogs indicate the presence of those remains in different ways," explained Lisa Higgins with the Louisiana Search and Rescue Dog Team."Some will bark, some will lie down, some will sit -- depends on what they are particularly trained to do."

If a dog indicates a hit, Kimmerle says they will do additional testing at the site.

"We always ground truth everything and so we do something called a shovel test or a trench and so we actually do a mini-excavation just like what we had done before with ground-penetrating radar as we ground truth it."

The K-9 search teams are all volunteering their time and will continue search the grounds at Dozier through Friday.

Asked why she volunteered to help Higgins replied, "Because if we don't, who will? Somebody has to find the missing so that's what we train to do."

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