"You have to have witnesses," said Glenn Hess, the state attorney of Jackson County. "Nobody can place a name with a homicide victim and a perpetrator."
And that's nearly impossible considering the amount of time that has passed.
"There are these general stories about the beatings and all that went on, but that's not unusual for reformatories in the '30s and '40s," he told CNN.
But this doesn't matter to Elmore Bryant, the NAACP leader. He's lived here all his life. He thinks the truth behind the mystery of Marianna will finally be found.
"I don't think the bones will lie. The bones will tell the truth," he said. "I'd want the truth to be known how I died."