Identifying Bodies Buried in Unmarked Graves

Forensic DNA analysis will help Florida identify bodies buried in unmarked graves.

The University of South Florida has been awarded funds to continue performing forensic archaeological fieldwork associated with identifying unmarked graves and bodies buried on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., a former state-run institution that closed in 2011.

Sparked by allegations of beatings, torture and deaths at the school, investigators believe dozens of unmarked graves of staff and children remain on the site. The NIJ award will allow the medical examiner and forensic specialists to locate the graves and establish the identities and causes of death of the persons buried in them.

The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, another NIJ grantee, will perform all of the DNA analyses and enter the data into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

Learn more about NIJ’s DNA program to identify missing persons and unidentified decedents:

Learn more about the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System at

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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)