The Florida Department of State issued a press release late Wednesday afternoon announcing the Thursday planning meeting in Tallahassee regarding how to proceed with investigating the recently discovered anomalies on the grounds of the state’s old Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, property now in the hands of Jackson County government and known as Endeavor.
Jackson County Commission Chairman Clint Pate and county Administrator Wilanne Daniels are set to attend. Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts was also potentially attending.
Daniels, who said this was to be the second such planning session, indicated that she felt positive about what the session could achieve.
“Our first meeting with the state and stakeholders was very productive,” she said. “From my perspective, everyone involved is committed to addressing this issue with respect and intentionality, while at the same time, moving towards closure. I anticipate the same level of commitment at tomorrow’s meeting.”
Officials said state and local partners will meet Thursday, June 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, in the banquet hall at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. The release did not indicate whether the meeting was open to the general public.
Those listed as involved in the session include representatives from the Executive Office of the Governor, Florida Department of State, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida Department of Management Services, Jackson County, City of Marianna, Black Boys of Dozier, White House Boys, AME Churches, Florida Council of Churches, NAACP and University of South Florida.
Mission San Luis is located at 2100 West Tennessee Street (U.S. 90).
Ground Penetrating Radar results earlier this year revealed 27 ground anomalies that are “consistent with possible graves” about 500 feet from Boot Hill, the official campus graveyard, according to a report to the state. The depths of the areas identified as having possible graves ranged from 20 to 85 centimeters from the surface.
The findings are based solely on a variety of characteristics noted in the GPR data and related testing with no confirmed remains revealed at this time.
The findings were included in a report generated after the Department of Environmental Protection hired a company late last year to clean up an area where a fuel spill had occurred in the area. To prepare for that clean-up, a subcontractor was hired to survey the land with GPS before clean-up began and in the process identified those disturbed areas.
That work occurred long after Dr. Erin Kimmerle and her University of South Florida students concluded their study of the site documenting the remains of 55 sets of remains, some of the previously known and others discovered in that project. Several sets of those have since been reinterred at Boot Hill, while most were subsequently interred in a cemetery in Tallahassee.