Monday, 20 October 2014

Search for the Dead Yields An Empty Grave

A team of researchers led by a forensic anthropologist from the University of South Florida has been trying to determine the fate of boys who died in custody at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. The researchers have found more than 50 sets of remains in the makeshift cemetery of unmarked graves on school property. The school operated for more than a century before finally being closed in 2011. Throughout the years, former students came forward with stories of physical abuse and murder at the facility.
The investigation took a particularly unusual turn when the team of researchers decided to exhume the remains of Thomas Curry, who died in 1925. He was one of at least seven boys who died under suspicious circumstances after escaping from the school. The Florida death certificate indicated Curry's skull had been crushed by an unknown source.

Historical records indicated that Curry was not buried on school property, but that his remains were sealed in a coffin and sent to his grandmother in Philadelphia for burial in a local cemetery. The lead researcher, Erin Kimmerle, obtained permission to exhume Curry's remains, which she hoped would be better preserved than those excavated to date in the school cemetery. However, when the grave was opened, there was no trace of Curry's body.

 According to the CBS news report, "[w]hat made it unusual was that there were none of the usual tell-tale signs that a body had ever been inside. There was no hair, bits of clothing or teeth, not even tooth enamel which was present among the much poorer preserved remains . . . excavated in Marianna."

To view the full text of the article, please click here.

And if you are interested in following-- from the beginning-- this four-part CBS Web series on the search for the dead from the Dozier school,  please click here.

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