Over the past decade, hundreds of men have come forward to tell gruesome stories about the abuse and terrible beatings that they endured at Florida’s Dozier School for Boys, a notorious, state-run institution that closed last year after more than a century.
The small cemetery dates back to the early 1900s. Some former students at the Florida Industrial School for Boys in Marianna now say victims of abusive school administrators are buried there, CNN reported.
Suspicion was heightened recently when University of South Florida anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle found the 18 additional bodies that were buried without markers.
After the discovery she told reporters that “We found burials within the current marked cemetery, and then we found burials that extend beyond that.
These are children who came here and died, for one reason or another, and have just been lost in the woods.”
The Dozier School for Boys has been known by several names. It opened in 1900 as the Florida State Reform School, 1,400 acres west of Tallahassee.
Throughout its history, the school was known for its harsh conditions and brutal treatment.
Over the years, personal accounts of this brutality surfaced, but the administrators have always denied the claims and the local politicians have always swept them under the rug.
Over 300 former students from the 1950s and 1960s have joined together over the years to share stories about the violence that they experienced in a small building on the school’s grounds they knew as the White House.
This group came to be known as the “White House Boys,” and have been some of the most vocal witnesses in this case.
When the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated in 2009, their official report concluded that the 31 boys buried in the woods behind the school died either from the flu or in a fire, but the stories of abuse and the recently discovered unmarked graves are pointing towards foul play.
State investigators said that using school records, they were able to identify 31 former students interred in the school cemetery.
At least 81 boys are known to have died there, leaving no less than 50 unaccounted for with no idea where their bodies might be buried.