Going on five years of such important work
Part One of For Their Own Good ran in April 2009. Here's Ben Montgomery with his latest reporting on the boys school of Marianna:
TAMPA — Researchers from the University of South Florida said this morning they have exhumed the remains of 55 boys who died at a scandalized state-run reform school in the Panhandle town of Marianna.
That's 24 more than the 31 the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found during a cursory investigation in 2009 on orders from then-Gov. Charlie Crist. FDLE relied on incomplete school records and did not use ground-penetrating radar to map the cemetery.
The number even exceeds USF's earlier prediction of 49, which was based on ground-penetrating radar.
Among the unidentified remains — many of which appear to have been buried unceremoniously, somewhat haphazardly and at varying depths — anthropologists found artifacts they hope to date and compare to school records to help determine the identities of the boys buried.
They found belt buckles, zippers, coffin hardware, shirt buttons, bottles of embalming fluid and a child's marble. They hope DNA from the families of those known to have died at the school will also shed light on the identities of the remains. USF has collected DNA from about a dozen families and hope to track down more relatives of the dead.