Workers find 27 possible graves near Florida's oldest reform school

More than two dozen possible "clandestine" graves were found by workers near the site of a notorious Florida reform school, according to the Miami Herald.

Workers who were preparing to clean up a fuel storage site adjacent to the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna found "anomalies" that were consistent with human burials about 500 feet from what is known as the Boot Hill Cemetery at Dozier, a youth prison where abuses occurred for more than a century, the Herald reported.

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If the site is confirmed to contain 27 graves, that would bring the number of known burials on the reform school’s campus to 82, though academic researchers believe at least 100 deaths may have occurred at Dozier since it opened in 1900, according to the Herald.

Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida governor orders criminal investigation into handling of Jeffrey Epstein case Groups ask court to block ex-felon voting law in Florida GOP Florida governor enlists new officer to prepare state for rising sea level MORE (R) said he had asked state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Regulation, to “develop a path forward” to investigating the recent discovery, the Herald reported. “Representatives of these agencies will be reaching out to meet with county officials as the first step to understanding and addressing these preliminary findings,” DeSantis said, according to the newspaper.

In the late 20th century, men who had been held at the school in the 1950s and 1960s came forward with accounts of physical and sexual abuse, including beatings with belts and one student who was reportedly locked in a running dryer.

Previous investigations discovered the remains of several boys who were killed in a 1914 fire that spread while they were locked in a basement, according to the Herald.