LA County

LA County to Hold Virtual Ceremony for 1,547 Unclaimed Dead in Mass Grave

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

Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Los Angeles County will hold an online ceremony Thursday to mark the burial of 1,547 people who died in 2017 but whose remains went unclaimed by relatives or loved ones.

The Department of Decedent Affairs issued a statement saying it deeply regrets that it cannot hold a public ceremony this year, but made the decision to proceed with a virtual remembrance to conform with state and county public health orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Local faith leaders will join in the interfaith remembrance, which will include the Lord's Prayer in various languages and represent multiple religions. Members of the public can watch the ceremony, which will be livestreamed, at

Those being buried at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery in Boyle Heights died in 2017. The county generally holds the cremated remains for three years before burial to allow family members and loved ones a chance to claim them. The ashes have already been placed in a single mass grave in advance of the ceremony and formal burial service.

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 may be waived for families facing financial hardship.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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