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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Scott supports Dozier exhumation efforts once approved by Cabinet



The University of South Florida could be on the verge of getting permission to continue its efforts to find and excavate bodies at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will vote on the matter Tuesday. The agenda recommends approval.

Such action would end months of legal and political arguments surrounding USF’s request. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner had ruled that the state does not have the power to allow the excavation. In July, though, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson scolded Gov. Scott for not helping the university continue its work at the now closed Panhandle campus. And in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, Ovell Krell, 84, who hopes to recover the body of her brother, George Owen Smith, who died in Marianna in 1941, echoed similar sentiments.

"Through all of this, our governor has not shown any interest at all," Krell said.

Wednesday evening, John Tupps, Scott’s deputy press secretary, issued a statement.

“The purpose of the proposed research was not within the permitting authority of the Department of State,” he said. “Gov. Scott supports allowing USF to conduct lawful research on the Dozier property once approved by the Florida Cabinet.” 

[Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 10:48am]


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