PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The unclaimed remains of 1,500 people are being buried at a Philadelphia cemetery in the coming weeks.
The cremated remains of hundreds of individuals that were never claimed by a family member — including many elderly poor and homeless — will be laid to rest at Laurel Hill Cemetery, overlooking the Schuylkill River.
Bill Doran is the superintendent of the cemetery:
“Practically all of them have names and ages and dates of death.”
He says about 500 cremated remains have been relocated so far, and says a small, collective headstone will be placed at the site when the project is completed.
The city stopped burying bodies in 1983 to save money, instead cremating the remains of the unclaimed.
The ashes are kept on shelves at the medical examiner’s office for ten years in case someone should inquire about one of the decedents.
Doran says the cemetery will honor the dead on Memorial Day, to give them the sendoff they never had.
The burial project will cost the Department of Health approximately $20,000.