First of Bodies Exhumed at Dozier School Identified

University of South Florida researchers have identified one set of remains exhumed from the former Dozier School for Boys.

15-year-old George Owen Smith was sent to the reform school in 1940. His remains will be the first to be returned to his family.

Smith was positively matched with DNA collected from his sister, 86-year-old Ovell Krell.

Associate Professor Erin Kimmerle led the research team. She shared Smith's story in a press conference Thursday.

"When Owen went missing in 1940, he had run away from the school. His remains were found several months later decomposing under a house two miles away. Though the family told authorities to hold his remains at a local funeral home, as they made their way from Auburndale in a borrowed car, they arrived to be shown a mound of dirt by a superintendent who said that they had just buried him in an unmarked burial ground."

Researchers are still working to identify other remains recovered from unmarked graves on the school property.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Cabinet extended the permit for research to continue on the Dozier site until August 5, 2015.

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