Excavators have found up to another 27 suspected graves near the grounds of a notorious reform school in Florida.
Workers hired to clear up a fuel storage site detected new “anomalies” buried near the state-run Dozier School for Boys, officials said.
The school became infamous for the alleged abuse and murder of children over its 111-year history.
It was one of the largest institutions for young offenders in the US, eventually closing in 2011.
If confirmed, the latest finds would bring the total number of known burials on the campus to 82 – although researchers believe more than 100 children could have died at Dozier School.
Contractor New South Associates was preparing to clean up pollution in Marianna, Florida, using ground-penetrating radar in March when workers found what could be more burial sites near the school.
Their report, obtained by Florida newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, said the possible graves did not follow any pattern.
“This randomness might be expected in a clandestine or informal cemetery,” the report says.
New South recommended treating the area as a graveyard until a more thorough investigation could be conducted.
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has asked state authorities to “develop a path forward” to understand the findings.
A group of former students known as the White House Boys first brought claims of abuse at the institution to the public eye in the 2000s.
“We’ve been trying to tell the state of Florida that there’s more bodies out there for a long time,” Bryant Middleton told the Tampa Bay Times.
Another former Dozier School student, Terry Burns, told Action News that if they scanned the entire campus, “I guarantee they will find another 200 to 300 dead boys buried on them grounds”.