Thursday, September 5, 2013

USF digs up a dog at Dozier School

Memorial Crosses at Dozier School Cemetery.
They were placed by staff and students in the 1960s.
UPDATED 9/6/2013 - Researchers from the University of South Florida used at least some of the more than $600,000 in taxpayer money they have been given to dig up the grave of a dog at the Dozier School Cemetery.

The cemetery is located on a hilltop on the campus of the former Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. The majority of the graves there date from prior to 1940 and contain the victims of a tragic fire that took place in 1914 and students as well as staff members who died during flue outbreaks in 1918 and during the 1930s.

Local residents and former employees of the school have long warned that some of the graves at the cemetery contain the remains of animals. Those warnings have now been verified.

A source close to the investigation indicates that hours were spent during the first phase of the taxpayer-funded project to dig up the remains of a dog that were buried in an old Coleman-type cooler.

Ben Montgomery, a reporter for a Tampa area publication, did not report that a potential grave revealed a dead dog, but confirms that he was aware of it:

"Dog was found months ago, during trenching. Not during Phase 1. It was modern. Included in report to the state."

Why a reporter covering this story would not consider the discovery newsworthy is not clear. Local residents have long said that animals would be found buried at the site. He incorrectly equates my statement about the "first phase" of the project with "Phase 1" as defined by USF. I was speaking of the phase of the project that involved the trenching he mentions in his post on Twitter.

Pets known to be buried at the cemetery include two dogs and a peacock named Sue. So far as is known, the University of South Florida team has not yet located the remains of the peacock.

All human remains exhumed so far have been found in the
area of this photo. The small memorial placed in the 1960s
can be seen at left. The two human graves were removed from
the area of disturbed earth at right.
The only two human graves exhumed so far turned out to contain the apparent remains of former Dozier students who had been buried - as local residents and former employees predicted - with proper care. The remains had been buried in coffins and one burial even included the pins from a burial shroud such as was used in the early 1900s.

No evidence of criminal activity has been found thus far and neither of the graves exhumed so far proved to be "clandestine" (as researchers and others have repeatedly claimed).

The entire media appears to have decided to ignore the exhumation of the dog, as no stories about the discovery have appeared. In addition, media reports that remains have been found "in the woods" our outside the "traditional boundary" of the cemetery are false. All graves located so far are within the boundary of the old cemetery fence.

To read more about the results of the dig so far, please see yesterday's post:


Anonymous said...

Keep telling it, Dale! By the way, how did you find out they dug up the dog, since the media didn't tell about it? Might have been Robert Daffin's dog..

Dale Cox said...

I thought about Robert Daffin when I found out about this! I don't want to reveal my source, but let's just say I have actual authoritative sources, while the media seems to grab any bozo that wonders in off the street.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about this story and the men who supervised the boys. Post-War hires were ex-soldiers and possibly suffering PTSD. More needs to be focused on these men and their stories.