Thousands of LA County residents laid to rest at memorial

LOS ANGELES — It looks and sounds like a regular funeral; mourners crying, joined in prayer, and paying their respects for the departed.
But beneath the dirt, the remains of some 1400 people have yet to be claimed by their families and loved-ones.
“In many situations we can’t find family we can’t find friends and it seem as those individuals may have been forgotten by the world or forgotten by this society that cared for them, but I know and believe deeply in my heart that they are in no way forgotten by God,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Dept of Health Services.
These are the unclaimed dead of Los Angeles County.
Bodies found in Los Angeles County are held by officials if they go unclaimed after three years; they’re given a multilingual interfaith funeral service. This batch died in 2014.
Most of them have been identified, but a few are officially declared as John and Jane Does. Despite efforts by officials to find kin, for whatever reason they still go unclaimed.

“Heartbreakingly these individuals have no one but the county to provide them with the respectful and dignified burial. Some of these individuals were homeless, many were poor. Some where newborn babies and tragically many of them have no loved ones to grieve for them,” said

Janice Hahn, LA County Supervisor 4th District.

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Community members may not know these people personally, but they gather in funeral services for the unclaimed dead, like Fil-Am Cynthia Herrera.
“It’s just good to see people from different faiths there’s a variety of, all different kinds of people here and that’s what Los Angeles is all about,” said Cynthia Herrera. “And it’s great people can come together because those 1400 souls that were put to rest, they represent what LA is.”
Nameless, unwanted, homeless, forgotten, no matter whose ashes lie here, for a few brief moments, their souls are remembered and honored.
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