Among those that have pushed to allow USF to conduct the research are Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
“My goal all along has been to help bring closure to the families who lost loved ones at Dozier. I feel great relief that the work to identify human remains is now underway,” Bondi said through a spokeswoman.
USF will work at the site until Tuesday and hopes to unearth the remains of two to four boys before resuming the excavation at a later date, Kimmerle said. The initial work will ensure that the process works smoothly before researchers return to the site.
DNA obtained at the site will be sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for analysis. The hope is that it can be matched to relatives. Ten families have contacted researchers in hopes of identifying relatives that might be buried at Dozier.
If matches are found, remains will be returned to the families.
“They want to bury them in family plots and next to the boys’ mothers and things like that,” Kimmerle said. “Anyone whose remains are unidentified will be re-interned here at Boot Hill.”
Any remains that are reinterned will have a grave marker and their DNA will be recorded in case anyone other families seek to identify remains.
“Hopefully a lot of questions will soon be answered once the scientists finish unearthing these unmarked graves in ‘Boot Hill Cemetery,’ “ Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin wrote in an email.