Jackson County Commissioners met in special session Friday morning and voted to approve a land use agreement with the Florida Department of State that was necessary to keep moving on the continued investigation of 27 anomalies discovered in recent months on the grounds of Endeavor, formerly known as the site of the Dozier School for Boys.
The ground anomalies, described as “consistent with possible graves at a site near the former Dozier School for Boys,” in appearance were discovered during an environmental study a few months ago related to a site on the grounds where an oil spill had been identified.
The land use agreement signed by the board will allow the state to have its contractor, the University of South Florida, further the investigation to determine whether graves do exist in the areas identified or whether the ground disturbances are related to something else.
If any human remains are located and excavated, the USF Forensic Laboratory will perform skeletal analyses for potential identification. DNA samples would be submitted to the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, which maintains the current Dozier Unidentified Persons Database, to further button up the project.
Because the county now owns the land, turned over by the state to the local government by the state last year, the agreement was necessary for the state to go forward with field work, which is to begin July 8. The agreement will be in effect for a term of one year.
The University of South Florida team will be led by Professor Erin Kimmerle, who had led the original investigation of Dozier’s Boot Hill cemetery a few years back in a project with her students.
That project was in a limited area which did not include the location where the newly discovered anomalies were noted.