News Channel

Final Report for Archeological Work and Excavation at Dozier School for Boys Released

USF Anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle and her team have been working on the project since 2012.

Photo by Katy Hennig | USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2016) – USF Anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle has released her final report for the archeological work and excavation at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., a project she and her team have been working on since 2012. The following are highlights from the report.

A total of seven positive DNA matches and 14 presumptive identifications have been made from the 51 remains located at the site. Two of the DNA matches have not been previously released and are new to the public.

A positive match is based on DNA confirmation. A presumptive match is based on facts such as the age and ancestry of remains. In determining a presumptive match, the date of death is also utilized, and this is determined by analyzing the artifacts, location of the burial, and the association of remains compared to known individuals and a list of individuals believed to be buried in the same location.

While the fieldwork is now complete at the 1400-acre Dozier property, Kimmerle will continue working with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the University of North Texas Science Center (UNTHSC) in an effort to positively identify more remains using DNA.

The final report of the USF anthropology team’s work is public and has been submitted to the Florida governor, the Florida cabinet, other government officials and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Kimmerle along with Dr. Christian Wells, Dr. Antoinette Jackson and Master Detective Greg Thomas will present their findings at the Florida Cabinet Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21, which will be broadcast live on The Florida Channel. The team will present to the Cabinet in the hopes of continuing to locate surviving family members, to make additional DNA identifications, and to repatriate remains. They will also ask lawmakers to create a plan for burying the unidentified children. The remains of four individuals who were positively identified have been returned to their families for burial - the other three are still pending.

Two facial reconstructions have been completed for the unidentified remains. The team wanted to create reconstructions for all of the remains, but due to the condition of the skulls, only two reconstructions were possible.

January 2016

The newest facial reconstruction, “Burial 13”, depicts an African American male estimated between the ages of 11-14 years old. The facial reconstruction was based on cranial fragments, a mostly-intact mandible, teeth and post-cranial remains found at the Boot Hill Burial Ground at Dozier. This evidence shows that the child was in good health aside from a chronic ear infection.

The two new DNA identifications of remains are both Caucasian males, Loyd Dutton and Grady Huff, who died in 1918 and 1935, respectively. Dutton’s identification is the oldest that Kimmerle’s team has on record to date. Master Detective Greg Thomas of HCSO collected DNA samples from the boys’ families and submitted them to the UNTHSC for testing and comparisons of DNA collected from tooth and bone samples at the USF Forensic Anthropology Laboratory by Kimmerle. The excavation and subsequent skeletal analysis has been conducted at the USF Forensic Anthropology Laboratory by Kimmerle and her team of researchers. The families have been notified, but repatriation is pending and in progress.

Dutton’s remains were identified by matching the DNA sample from his remains with the DNA of his great grand-nephew, David Daniel. Dutton was from Lee County, Fla., and sentenced to the school at the age of 14 for delinquency. He was supposed to remain there until the age of 21, but he died 309 days after his arrival, Nov. 4, 1918. While his cause of death is unknown, the time of death coincides with an influenza outbreak that occurred at the school. Dutton’s remains were found with his original casket, made from the school’s carpentry shop and composed of 103 ferrous nail fragments, 79 metal tacks, and 15 corrugated metal fasteners. The remains of his clothing consisted of five metal buttons, three stone buttons, and two metal buckles.

April 2014

Huff’s DNA remains were matched to that of his maternal cousin, Evelyn Hawkinson, as well as to three more of his cousins: Elmer Hutchins, Geneva Harling and William Saye. Huff was admitted to the school for larceny as the age of 17 on Aug. 5, 1934, until legally discharged. He died on March 4, 1935, from “acute nephritis, followed by hernia” 211 days after his arrival. Huff’s remains were also originally buried in a painted, wooden casket from the school’s carpentry shop, based on the recovered 100 fragments of ferrous metal nails, four ferrous metal coffin handles, six white metal thumbscrews, five corrugated metal fasteners, 24 ferrous metal tacks, wood and gray-blue samples of paint found at the site.

Kimmerle and her team did a complete and thorough search of the area where the 1914 dormitory fire occurred, and they found charred remains. However, they were unable to do further analysis or DNA work with the remains because of their condition.

The full 168-page summary of Kimmerle’s report can be found here.

A two-hour television documentary based on the anthropological and forensic work performed by Kimmerle and her team in relation to Dozier is set to air in fall.

Additional articles and further information about the research at the former Dozier School for Boys:

Additional resources relating to USF’s research at the former Dozier School for Boys is available through the following links, which are provided for research and public information purposes only. No further right or license is granted. Questions about reproduction of broadcast or print media articles should be directed to the original author or media outlet.

Items of interest:

Video Coverage:

Images of posters displayed at June 14 news conference:

USF News is produced by University Communications and Marketing.

To submit content, please review our Editorial Plans.