Los Angeles County will hold a ceremony Wednesday to mark the burial of 1,460 people who died in 2016 but whose remains went unclaimed by relatives or loved ones.
Supervisor Janice Hahn called for a moment of silence in memory of the dead during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. While acknowledging that she knew little about the people who will be buried in a mass grave on Wednesday, she said, "We do know that they mattered."
She noted that some of the dead were homeless, others were extremely poor and some were children.
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She urged everyone to consider "claiming the living" by reaching out to estranged family and friends this holiday season.
Those being buried at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery in Boyle Heights died in 2016. 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.
The interfaith remembrance will include prayers, song and rituals from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Native American traditions.
Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Family members searching for deceased loved ones can call the county Office of Decedent Affairs/Morgue at 323-409-7161 or the Medical Examiner's Office, 323-343-0512. The cost of cremation can be waived for families facing financial hardship.