Press Release

February 22, 2016
Contact: Manny Leto


History Center exhibit offers a slice of vintage Florida

Panel discussion features several key participants in the Dozier School investigation

“I think everyone can understand that children came here and died here, and there are people who are related to them who have questions.” — Dr. Erin Kimmerle

(Tampa) –After four years of forensic research, seven years of investigative reporting from a local newspaper, dozens of reports in the national media, a crucial vote by the Florida Cabinet, and a documentary film in the making, the truth about what occurred at Florida’s oldest and most notorious reform school is finally coming to light.

Join the Tampa Bay History Center on Thursday, March 3 at 6 p.m. for the 2016 Duckwall Lecture, which will focus on Florida’s infamous Dozier School for Boys. Located in Marianna the state’s oldest reform school garnered international media attention following the discovery, excavation and DNA identification of remains from the school grounds, and investigative reporting by the Tampa Bay Times.

Moderated by Tampa attorney and History Center Trustee Bob Bolt, panelists will include well-known USF forensic anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle, Pulitzer Prize finalist Tampa Bay Times journalist Ben Montgomery, and lead victim activist Glen Varnadoe.

Panelists will each discuss their role in the Dozier School saga, including the recently-released report summarizing the findings of the USF-led investigation. A total of 51 sets of remains were found on the campus, 20 more than previously identified by a State of Florida investigation.

Panelist Glen’s Varnadoe’s father and uncle were both sent to the Dozier School in 1934, at the ages of 15 and 13 respectively. Only his father came home. As one of the first people to begin researching the school’s sordid history, Varnadoe will share his family’s personal story and detail his more than 25-year quest for answers into the mysterious death of his uncle while in the school’s care.

“The History Center is proud to present the three individuals who, more than any others, contributed to this powerful story coming to light,” said panel moderator Bob Bolt.

The Duckwall Lecture is supported by the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, and hosted by the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water Street, Tampa. For more information, contact the Tampa Bay Center at (813) 228-0097 or online at

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