|Memorial Area at Dozier School Cemetery|
The first phase of their work is now over and they are not expected to return until October or November.
Contrary to what you may have read in newspapers or heard on television, here are the facts so far:
- NO "clandestine" graves have been found. The graves located so far turned out to be historic graves that clearly demonstrated proper care was given to the bodies at the time they were buried.
- Evidently unfamiliar with what happens to the terrain around Marianna during seasons of heavy rain, the researchers experienced problems due to the rain soaked condition of the ground at the cemetery. Instead of exhuming 4-5 graves as they expected, they only managed to dig up two.
- NO graves have been found outside the traditional limits of the cemetery. ALL graves located so far are inside the old fence line of the Dozier School Cemetery and the limits of the cemetery as shown on state plats and federal topographic maps dating from the 1940s. (Some media outlets have incorrectly reported otherwise).
- The two graves exhumed so far reveal that the bodies were interred in coffins, not just "dumped in holes" as some have claimed, and that proper mortuary procedures of the time were followed when the burials took place. Pins from burial shrouds were even found in the graves.
- NO evidence of criminal activity has been found.
- The memorial crosses at the cemetery were placed there by Dozier employees, NOT the University of South Florida.
- The memorial at the cemetery dates back to the 1960s, thirty years earlier than reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
- The cable around the memorial crosses is NOT the traditional boundary of the cemetery as some media outlets have reported. The actual traditional boundary surrounds 1-2 acres of land and originally consisted of a wire fence.