Friday, June 22, 2018
Public safety

Nelson seeks help in Pennsylvania to exhume boy who died at Dozier

When 15-year-old Thomas Curry was found dead in 1925, not long after he had run away from Florida's reform school in Marianna, the coroner's jury determined he "came to his death from a wound on forehead: skull crushed from an unknown cause." His body was buried in Philadelphia.

Now, a team of University of South Florida forensic anthropologists, backed by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, are asking the Pennsylvania state police to help them find and exhume Curry's remains for an autopsy. Nelson has asked Gov. Tom Corbett for his assistance.

"Some of these young boys died under suspicious or questionable circumstances, making it essential to also investigate the cause of their deaths," Nelson wrote.

The governor's press office was unfamiliar with the request Tuesday afternoon.

Curry had been at the Dozier School for Boys 29 days when he ran away. His body was found the next day near train tracks at River Junction in Gadsden County, about 25 miles from Marianna. Curry was one of 10 boys to die while running away between 1906 and 1952. His death was not included in the school's biennial report to the state Board of Commissioners, which oversaw the school.

The researchers have exhumed the remains of 55 bodies from a cemetery on the property — nearly double what state authorities reported in 2009 after an investigation.

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