Los Angeles County to Honor, Bury 1,937 Unclaimed Dead From 2020

Los Angeles County to Honor, Bury 1,937 Unclaimed Dead From 2020

Rev. Chris Ponnet leads an interfaith memorial service at the burial site of the ashes of 1,467 individuals who died but whose remains went unclaimed, at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery, in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2018. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

12/14/2023

Updated: 12/14/2023

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LOS ANGELES—An estimated 1,937 unclaimed individuals who died in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will be laid to rest Dec. 14.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, along with the Department of Health Services, Office of Decedent Affairs, and the Los Angeles General Medical Center Chaplains, will have a non-denominational interfaith burial ceremony for the county’s unclaimed dead at the L.A. County Cemetery.
Local faith leaders will preside over the burial of decedents in a single communal grave, offering a “compassionate opportunity” to pay respects to individuals who died as a result of the challenges of the pandemic.
The Ceremony of the Unclaimed Dead will be open to the public, with attendance limited to 75 individuals.
Members of the public pay their respects at an interfaith memorial service at the burial site of the ashes of 1,467 individuals who died but whose remains went unclaimed, at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2018. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the public pay their respects at an interfaith memorial service at the burial site of the ashes of 1,467 individuals who died but whose remains went unclaimed, at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2018. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Since 1896, the ceremony has paid homage to those who have died but remain unclaimed. The Office of Decedent Affairs manages cremation and burial for indigent and unclaimed individuals who die within the county’s jurisdiction.
These individuals may be homeless or have no next of kin. There is a three-year waiting period between the year of death and burial to allow family members to claim cremated remains.
Shortly before the ceremony, ashes are placed in a single communal grave with a marker indicating the year of cremation.
The Office of Decedent Affairs works with families to facilitate remains retrieval before burial.
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