Researchers identify boy buried at Panhandle school in 1940

Remains of 55 people found at Dozier School for Boys

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This photo appearing in the Miami Herald showed the grave markers near the grounds of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

TAMPA, Fla. - University of South Florida researchers say they have used DNA testing for the first time to identify the remains of a boy buried at an unmarked grave at a reform school 74 years ago.

Researchers said Thursday they identified the remains of George Owen Smith, who was 14 when he disappeared from the now-closed Dozier School for Boys in 1940. They couldn't say how he died.

The researchers spent four months last year excavating the Panhandle school's graveyard. Official records indicated 31 burials, but researchers found the remains of 55 people.

Some former students from the 1950s and 1960s have accused employees and guards at the school of physical and sexual abuse, but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded after an investigation it couldn't substantiate or dispute the claims.

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