Morgue Handling More Unclaimed Bodies

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A downturn in the economy means an increase in the number of unclaimed bodies at the morgue.

    The Los Angeles County morgue is handling more unclaimed bodies because the weak economy means more people can't afford burials for their loved ones.

    The number of unclaimed bodies that the morgue cremated was up 25 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2008.

    The county crematorium had to stop accepting bodies earlier this year. Two private crematories were hired to handle the overflow.

    Unclaimed bodies typically are cremated after 30 days. The ashes are held for two years and then buried in a common grave.

    It costs $200 to claim a body from the county, or $352 to receive the cremated ashes.

    Coroner's Lt. David Smith says families are saying they simply don't have the money for a funeral.