The county cremates the bodies of people who cannot be identified by the coroner or who go unclaimed by family. It holds the ashes for relatives who may come to retrieve them months later. But, ultimately, if no one comes forward, the ashes are buried in a plastic bag in a common grave at the Los Angeles County Crematorium Cemetery.
"Some are homeless. Many are poor. Some have no families to grieve for them," Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting about the people who will be buried.
Others have families who simply cannot afford the cost of burial or cremation, he said.
"Regardless of what their status in life was, each one of their lives mattered," Knabe said. "It matters to us, their county family."
The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner's website has a list of the names of 5,015 dead who remain unclaimed.