Marianna, Florida -- USF researchers have returned to the Dozier School for Boys to search for more bodies.
They're using cadaver dogs as they try to pinpoint burial sites.
The controversial state-run reform school, located in the Florida panhandle, closed in 2011 after being open for more than 100 years.
A previous excavation last year recovered 55 bodies... 24 more than official records had indicated.
Some of those who were once sent to Dozier -- now senior citizens --
have come forward with stories of abuse at the school, including alleged
beatings, torture, sexual abuse, killings and the disappearance of
students, during the 1940s, '50s and '60s.
Before researchers began searching and exhuming graves, a small unkempt
patch of land on school grounds was marked with 31 white crosses. Rusting away with time, they marked the final resting place for the unknown students that the state has
confirmed were buried there.
Nearly 100 children died while at the school, according to state and
school records, many as a result of a tragic dormitory fire in 1914 and a
deadly flu epidemic in 1918.
The poorly-kept state records cannot account for what happened to 22
children who died at the school. And, no one knows who is buried where.
Click here for a PDF list of families that researchers are searching for. Anyone with with information is asked to contact Hillsborough County Sheriff's Master Detective Greg Thomas at 813-247-8678.
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