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FDLE Investigates Unidentified Graves

December 12th, 2008 by flanews

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating 32 unidentified graves near a state reform school. Former students say the graves could hold the remains of some of their classmate who may have been beaten to death in the 1950s and 60s. As Whitney Ray tells us, the governor has ordered a full investigation.

Hear it Here: FDLE Investigates Unidentified Graves

The first thing Robert Straley noticed about the Florida School for Boys was its natural beauty. The aesthetics quickly wore off.

It was a beautiful hell, said Straley.

On Roberts first day of school in 1963 he was beaten in the building known as the White House.

I only got 40 lashes, Straley said. That turned me totally black and purple.

Former students say some of the kids who were brought to the White House for beatings were never seen again.

The ground under the 31 metal crosses and one unmarked grave could hold clues to what happened to the students who disappeared. The Florida Department of Law enforcement is investigating the grave site.

Its really too early at this point to tell if well be doing any type of excavation. We have a lot of leg work to do on the front end to determine if that is in fact necessary, A lot of records to look through, a lot of witnesses to locate, said FDLE spokeswoman Heather Smith.

Patrick Hallinan was a witness to his own beating. Patrick was caught smoking with a black student. They were both taken to the White House. He never saw his friend again.

Id like to see them face to face. Tell them how angry I really am. I hope God can forgive them, I cant, said Patrick.

Patrick hopes uncovering the past will bring him closure, but for those who have already died, justice may be the only thing left. Governor Charlie Crist says if the investigation uncovers evidence of foul play, he wants charges brought against the perpetrators.

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