USF Anthropology

Pool/Edmund D. Fountain/Tampa Bay Times

The state of Florida came a step closer Tuesday to formally apologizing for the abuse of hundreds of children over the course of a century at the state-run Dozier School for Boys.

USF Researchers To Map Historic Tampa Cemetery

Mar 23, 2017
from Wikimedia Commons

Anyone walking along Harrison Street in downtown Tampa for the next several weeks may notice people surveying Oaklawn Cemetery with strange equipment.

The researchers are from the University of South Florida Department of Anthropology, and they’re using gradiometers - devices used to measure small changes in the magnetic field that are caused by hidden anomalies in the ground - and ground-penetrating radar to create a digital database of the historic cemetery.

Pasco Co. Sheriff's Office

When crimes like the Pulse nightclub shooting or the shootings at the Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport occur, there are two major responses by law enforcement.

First, there's the immediate, tactical reply. Then there's the forensic investigation.

A center that brings training for those two stages together under one roof is in the works in Pasco County, and University of South Florida researchers are playing a major role.

Tampa Bay History Center

There’s an effort underway to help local residents rediscover the rich past of one of the oldest communities in Tampa.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Forensic artists at a recent workshop hosted by the University of South Florida wrapped up their week of work by presenting their creations - fourteen clay busts of unidentified victims in cold cases - to local law enforcement.

But in the middle of their presentation, a woman looking at one of the works at the rear of a downtown Tampa conference room broke down sobbing, sure that the face staring back at her was that of her sister, some thirty-eight years after she went missing.

"Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier" debuts Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. on LMN.
LMN / Part2Productions

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.

Heide Castañeda

While many viewed the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration with a passing interest at best, Heide Castañeda's involvement was much more personal.

Governor Gives Backing To Dozier ‘Justice’ Bill

Mar 31, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a bill addressing what one lawmaker described as a "dark chapter" in Florida history at a now-shuttered reform school.

Florida Matters: Dozier School

Mar 30, 2016
USF Department of Anthropology

The Tampa Bay History Center recently hosted a panel discussion on the now-closed Dozier School for Boys. The reform school in the Florida Panhandle has been known for decades for abuse, torture, and even murder.

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 a.m.), we are bringing you highlights of the discussion moderated by Tampa attorney and History Center Trustee Bob Bolt.

The Florida Senate has passed a bill allowing the state to provide financial help to the families who want to rebury the remains of their loved ones, found on the Panhandle property of the former Dozier School for Boys. Its House counterpart is also heading to the floor.

Pool/Edmund D. Fountain / Tampa Bay Times


Florida may pay for burials of students whose remains were once on the grounds of the now shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

Loose Ends Remain After USF Issues Report on Dozier

Jan 22, 2016
Steve Cannon / AP Photo

University of South Florida researchers presented their final report on the Robert G. Dozier School for Boys to the state cabinet Thursday, and even though this closes one chapter in a lengthy saga, a number of loose ends remain.

Florida's Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys was a horror tale come to life.

"There's just too many stories," Roger Kiser, who was at the school in the 1950s, told NPR in 2012. "I know of one [boy] that I personally saw die in the bathtub that had been beaten half to death. I thought he'd been mauled by the dogs because I thought he had ran. I never did find out the true story on that. There was the boy I saw who was dead who came out of the dryer. They put him in one of those large dryers."

USF Department of Anthropology

The Dozier School for Boys in the Florida Panhandle town of Marianna closed in 2011, after allegations by former inmates of decades of torture and abuse.

University of South Florida researchers have been working for years to identify dozens of remains found in unmarked graves on the site, and they've just released their final report.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

USF forensic anthropologists are getting extra money to crack cold cases. 

They've been awarded a $386,537 grant from the National Institute of Justice - the research wing of the U.S. Department of Justice - to examine 50 unsolved cases. 

USF St. Petersburg

Scientists say they have extracted ancient DNA from the skull of a man buried in the highlands of Ethiopia 4,500 years ago that supports the theory that Eurasian farmers migrated into Africa some 3,000 years ago.

A pair of USF St. Petersburg anthropologists, Drs. John and Kathryn Arthur, were among the members of the international team of scientists, whose work was published in the journal Science.

Scott, Cabinet Start Talks on Dozier Site Future

Sep 29, 2015
Edmund D. Fountain / Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet began discussions Tuesday on the future of the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, a former state-run reform school where children are alleged to have been abused and died.

However, no decisions were made as the state officials agreed to await a final report expected in January from University of South Florida researchers, who excavated the 1,400-acre site about 70 miles west of Tallahassee and continue to try identify remains.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The University of South Florida announced late Friday afternoon that the USF Forensic Anthropology Laboratory will find an alternate location to train students and law enforcement to process human remains in outdoor crime scenes.

The Facility for Outdoor Experimental Research and Training (FORT) program was proposed on Hillsborough County Sheriffs property in Lithia, but an outcry from residents about possible smells, groundwater contamination and property values prompted a change in plans.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

USF's Forensic Anthropology Laboratory is best known for its work at the Dozier School for Boys. Now, they're asking for approval to use a parcel of land in Lithia as a training ground for identifying real bodies in different stages of decomposition. 

Currently, students are using plastic skeletons to train on. USF Anthropology professor Erin Kimmerle, however, said that real bones aren't pure white like fake ones are. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and a University of South Florida anthropology professor are developing a forensic research site, where investigators could study how the humid climate and sandy soil affect human corpses, The Tampa Tribune reports.

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