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Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science at USF

For most of the last decade, Erin Kimmerle has led a team that has tried to find the bodies of students who were buried at Dozier School for Boys – some of whom died throughout the last century under mysterious, possibly violent, circumstances.

In March, WUSF was the only media outlet invited to join students and agents from the FBI on a visit to a University of South Florida-run facility where researchers learn what happens to the dead when they're exposed to Florida's elements.

But USF will lose its access to the site in a few years, raising questions of both why and what’s next.

Amelia Earhart stands under the nose of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra.
Wikimedia Commons

It's one of history’s enduring mysteries: what happened to famed aviator Amelia Earhart?

A University of South Florida researcher is joining National Geographic in trying to answer that question.

USF forensic anthropology students and FBI agents learn crime scene mapping skills at the annual field day at the Facility for Outdoor Research and Training (FORT).
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Since 2006, the University of South Florida has brought together FBI agents and students studying to become forensic investigators for a field training day.

In earlier versions, they’d meet on the Tampa campus or on the nearby grounds of MOSI and look at how the bodies of buried pigs decompose in Florida’s climate. But for the past few years, they’ve actually had a dedicated field – and real human bodies – to study.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

If what he says is true, Samuel Little would be one of the worst serial killers in U-S history.

The 78-year-old claims that between 1970 and 2005, he murdered 90 people, mostly women, around the country. That includes some in Tampa, Plant City, and elsewhere around Florida.

Now investigators, including University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, are trying to determine the validity of Little’s claims, as well as the identities of some of his victims.

A bill funding a unique facility to help solve cold cases is starting to move forward in the Florida House.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Among the $410 million worth of projects struck from the new state budget by Governor Rick Scott's veto pen are a number of items with ties to the Tampa Bay area.

A "body farm" where researchers can study how corpses decompose will open next week in the Tampa Bay area with the burial of four donated bodies.

Officials from Pasco County and the University of South Florida attended a dedication ceremony Friday for the Adam Kennedy Forensics Field, a three and a half acre patch of land on the grounds of the Pasco Sheriff's detention facility in Land O' Lakes, just north of Tampa.

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.