What happened to Thomas Curry’s body?

In 1925, a runaway from a boys reform school met an untimely end. When researchers tried to find out how he died, they found a disturbing surprise. They opened the casket… and it was empty.

New Dozier mystery: Investigators find dead boy’s grave empty (w/video) | Tampa Bay Times.

[…] University of South Florida forensic anthropologists dug down 6 feet to Curry’s casket and found a partially intact wooden box. The thumbscrews used to clamp shut the casket were identical to those found in burials on the Florida reform school campus. Atop the casket, they found a small cross, like a rosary necklace.

But inside, there was no body, no human remains. Where the boy should’ve been, they found wood.

The discovery shocked the researchers, Philadelphia archdiocese officials, the Pennsylvania State Police troopers helping and the local assistant district attorney, who expressed his exasperation with quiet expletives as he paced around the burial shaft.

“Where is he?”

The body had been shipped to Philadelphia from Florida where he was buried over his great-grandmother’s casket. It is a mystery what happened to the body. Boys who tried to escape the reform school were brutally beaten. Another report said he died being hit by a train. His cause of death remained unresolved and the evidence has gone missing. Researchers have found other bodies on the grounds of the reform school but they are in too poor condition to determine cause of death.

Days were brutal for troubled kids back then.

  3 comments for “What happened to Thomas Curry’s body?

  1. Perry
    October 10, 2014 at 1:54 AM

    “Days were brutal for troubled kids back then.”

    Still are.

    “Online survivors of boot camps for troubled teens play significant role in shutting down degrading abusive programs”


    “For the last 40 years, teens with drug problems, learning disabilities and other behavioral issues have been sent to residential facilities to endure “tough love” techniques that are widely known to include methods of outright physical and psychological abuse.”

  2. Angela
    October 10, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    It really is a mystery and one that may never be solved considering the time frame. One possibility that crosses my mind is cadaver theft. A book titled “When We Die: The Science, Culture, and Rituals of Death” by Cedric Mims speaks about stolen cadavers being used in Nashville Tennessee teaching hospitals up through the 1920’s. It would have been on the tail end of that practice since laws had been passed to allow the sale of cadavers, but it did make me wonder.

  3. October 10, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Perhaps even somewhere along the train route. But surprising it wasn’t checked. That seems like a plausible explanation.

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