The University of South Florida's lengthy investigation of the Dozier School for Boys is the subject of a national TV documentary debuting Friday night, June 3.
"Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier" takes an in-depth look at the more than 100-year history of the Florida Reform School, decades of allegations of abuse, and the mysterious deaths of dozens of students.
In addition to interviews with relatives of some of the students, the documentary follows USF forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle and her fellow researchers, who have spent the last few years trying to identify 51 sets of remains they exhumed from unmarked graves on Dozier property.
While they've positively identified seven sets of remains through DNA matches and have tentative ID's for fourteen more, Kimmerle recently told University Beat on WUSF TV a lack of family members is making naming the rest difficult.
"We're talking about a couple of generations ago," Kimmerle said. "Because these were children, they didn't have offspring, and so we're having to go back and find parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings and follow through maybe two or three generations where they are now."
She added that, even almost five years into the research, that the work remains about finding closure for family members - some of whom who have gone decades without knowing what happened to their loved ones.
"What we have at the end of the day is hope and that with answers and resolution comes some type of peace, and that's what we've tried to do for these families," Kimmerle said.