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Grave excavation to begin at former reform school

MARIANNA, Fla. (AP) - University of South Florida researchers will begin exhuming dozens of graves today at a former reform school in hopes of identifying the buried boys and learning how they died.

Researchers will remove dirt with trowels and by hand to find the remains, which are believed to be 19 inches to 3-plus feet under the surface.

Former inmates at the reform school from the 1950s and 1960s have detailed horrific beatings that took place in a small, white concrete block building at the facility. A group of survivors call themselves the "White House Boys" and five years ago called for an investigation into the graves. In 2010, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement ended an investigation and said it could not substantiate or refute the claims.

USF later began its own research and discovered even more graves.

Robert Straley, a spokesman for the White House Boys, said the school segregated white and black inmates and that there is another white cemetery that hasn't been discovered.


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