A Florida boys school that has been closed since 2011 is under investigation as the bodies of boys from the school are slowly being removed from unmarked graves. In September researchers were able to identify the remains of two boys found buried in unmarked graves marked by white crosses. As the probe into what happened at the Florida school continues, another mystery has emerged as one boy thought to be buried with his great-grandparents casket was exhumed for examination.
For about 90 years the body of Thomas Curry was thought to be buried with his family. When cause of death was called into question based on recent findings at the Dozier School for Boys in Florida, Curry’s casket was exhumed. Researchers attempting to determine cause of death opened the casket but Curry was not there. Inside the casket was planks of wood which were apparently buried in place of the boy who apparently died under mysterious circumstances.
A death certificate for Curry lists the cause of death as a crushed skull but there is no cause for this listed. A ledger kept by the school listed the death as having occurred on a local bridge. The cemetery where Curry is supposed to have been buried has the death being caused by the boy being hit by a train. What would have been an investigation to uncover what actually caused the death of the student has instead brought up more questions.
The continued investigation into what actually happened at the closed Florida boys school has uncovered deception and cover ups. Over the years a number of allegations have been leveled against the administrators of the school ranging from severe beatings, rape and forced labor. A number of former students have come forward to recount their abuses at the hands of those in charge of the school.
In 2008 the reports of criminal activity at the Florida school caught the attention of the nation. In 2009 while the Justice Department was able to confirm that abuses did occur at the school, an investigation by the state of Florida was unable to come up with enough evidence to prove criminal conduct occurred. In 2010 a group of former students of the school sued the state of Florida but because the statute of limitations had already run out the case was eventually tossed out of court.
This latest investigation is an effort to identify the bodies that are buried on the grounds of the school with only 31 white crosses standing as markers. With at least 55 unmarked graves and bodies that have been found not only on the grounds themselves but also in the woods near the school, investigators hope to at least identify the boys so that their families can get closure. Even though many of the boys have been buried for centuries, the hope is that every body found on the ground is identified and cause of death potentially determined.
Although the Florida boys school has been closed since 2011, the investigation into what actually happened at the school will continue. After the exhumation of what should have been Curry’s body, there are still more questions than answers. With at least 22 bodies unaccounted for and many more bodies to be identified, the search for answers continues.
By Kimberley Spinney