The Senate's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $200,000 to help University of South Florida researchers continue to look for forgotten graves at a former state-run reform school. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said the money will help investigators continue to identify gravesites on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
“This funding is crucial to helping USF analyze the cemetery at the former school," Stargel said via a news release. "This the right thing to do, so that we may provide some form of closure for the family members who tragically lost loved ones at this site."
The Florida House also said it will fully fund USF's request, which was for $190,000. And U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has identified a federal grant program that could also assist with the Dozier investigation.
The federal program, run by the Department of Justice, allocates up to $3 million to universities and non-profit organizations that wish to exhume bodies and identify missing people using DNA technology.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a court petition asking for permission to allow a medical examiner to exhume bodies at the site. Read more on the work of the USF researchers here.