Los Angeles County honors unclaimed dead

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County officials and interfaith leaders will preside tomorrow over the burial of the cremated remains of 1,467 individuals in a mass grave.

Supervisor Janice Hahn called for a moment of silence at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in honor of those whose bodies were unclaimed, just after another moment of silence in honor of former President George H.W. Bush.

“We do not know much about them, but we know their lives mattered,” Hahn said, emotional as she noted some of the dead were homeless, many were poor and some were children.

Those to be buried at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery in Boyle Heights died in 2015. The county generally holds the cremated remains for three years before burial to allow family members and loved ones a chance to claim the remains. The ashes have already been placed in a single mass grave in advance of the ceremony and formal burial service.

The county has been conducting burials of the unclaimed dead since 1896.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the interfaith remembrance, which will include prayers, song and rituals from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Native American traditions.

Family members searching for deceased loved ones can call the county Office of Decedent Affairs/Morgue at (323) 409-7161 or the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, (323) 343-0512. The cost of cremation can be waived for families facing financial hardship.

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