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USF continues investigation into Panhandle reform school deaths

Jerome R. Stockfisch Tribune staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM

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Researchers from the University of South Florida will continue investigating what happened to dozens of boys who died in state custody at a former Panhandle reform school.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson announced Thursday that USF has received state permission to continue the investigation at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, which has been the subject of investigations into abuse allegations and suspicious deaths.

USF anthropologists began investigating reported grave sites at the school last year. In December, they issued a report stating at least 50 graves were on the site, higher than a state estimate of 31. They also said they believe there is a second cemetery.

Nelson has been an advocate for those who claim they lost relatives at the school. In a Jan. 24 letter to Gov. Rick Scott, Nelson asked that the state Division of Historical Resources re-issue permits through July 9. The division could not be reached on Thursday, but Nelson said permission had been granted.

A civil court in Tallahassee on Tuesday extended until July 9 a temporary restraining order preventing the state from selling the land.

jstockfisch@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7834

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