DNA samples could solve Fla reform school mystery

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Researchers took DNA samples from family members of boys who died decades ago at a now-defunct Florida reform school to try to help solve the mystery of which bodies were buried on the property.

During a news conference Friday, University of South Florida associate professor Erin Kimmerle said the DNA samples will eventually be compared to remains found at the boys school.

It is unclear when the comparisons will be made. Researchers have yet to exhume any bodies buried on the property.

The school, formally known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, closed in 2011.

It was located in Marianna about 60 miles west of Tallahassee and was once the nation’s largest reform school, with 698 youths.

Also Friday, officials from the Florida Department of State sent USF researchers a letter asking for additional information in order to evaluate a pending permit application for the exhumation.

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Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout contributed to this report from Tallahassee, Fla.

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