Work begins to excavate graves at former Fla. reform school known for abuse, spokeswoman says

University of South Florida researchers have begun work to excavate graves at a former reform school know for extreme abuse.

USF spokeswoman Lara Wade has confirmed that measuring and marking work began Saturday morning at the now-closed Dozier Arthur G. Dozier School. Digging will follow.

Researchers hope to identify the remains and determine how the boys buried there died.

USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle says the remains of about 50 people are in the graves. Some are marked with a plain, white steel cross, and others have no markings.

Former inmates at the reform school have detailed severe beatings by guards during the 1950s and 1960s. The school opened in 1900 and shut down two years ago for budgetary reasons.