© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Two More Bodies Identified at Dozier School For Boys

Daylina Miller

2/21 1:30 p.m. 2nd paragraph corrected to indicate location of possible projectile found in one grave

Two more sets of remains were identified today from the Dozier School for Boys.

And in a recent report researchers from the University of South Florida prepared for the Florida Cabinet, they said they found, along with the remains of one teenage boy, "(near the left lower abdomen/upper thigh region of the body) was a small lead ball consistent with a projectile."

"What it looks like is a small, round metal object. It's lead, it looks very much like what you'd see as pellets in a shotgun," says USF researcher Erin Kimmerle.

But Kimmerle says there's no way to determine if the projectile was a factor in the boy's death.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Detective Greg Thomas is helping with the investigation. He says too much time has passed to tell if the boy was killed or hurt by that pellet.

"It could have been in a pocket - the clothing is completely eroded away. All it was was just skeletal remains," he said. "We wouldn't be able to tell if that particular child had placed that in a pocket, finding it, collecting it, whatever, or if it was an injury or would that he incurred from a projectile."

One of the two people identified is Sam Morgan, who entered the reform school in 1915, at the age of 18. He was later used as an "indentured servant" at local farms and businesses. But he was never listed by the school as deceased.

His family in the South Florida town of LaBelle has been notified. Kimmerle says he will be repatriated to the family and reburied once a death certificate is issued.

The other person was identified at Bennett Evans, an employee at the school who died in a fire in the dormitory in 1914. Kimmerle says so far, her team has found the remains of 51 children spread through 55 graves.

Her team is searching for surviving family members to collect their DNA and match it with the children recovered from the site. Here's their list:


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.