CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Cook County is burying the remains of more than 240 unclaimed persons Wednesday - including five who are still unidentified.
Wednesday marks the county’s first burial of indigents in eight months. Usually these burials are done twice a year, but this year, the COVID-19 pandemic even affected the interment of the dead.
A Cook County spokesperson said 244 cremated remains - five of them John Does or Jane Does - are being buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery near 111th and California. Each set of the 244 cremated remains is placed in a casket - 20 sets of remains in each casket.
The medical examiner holds remains for about a month. If they are unclaimed, they are cremated. And if no one has claimed them for at least a year, the cremated remains are buried.Earlier this month, WBBM Newsradio reported more people are failing to claim the bodies of family and loved ones at the Cook County morgue.
County cremations for April, May and June were 274, more than twice those for the same period last year.
Among those cremated and unclaimed so far: a 2-year-old boy, Marshawn Williams, whose mother told authorities she found her son unresponsive in their West Side apartment. Result of autopsy: inconclusive.
Also cremated and unclaimed: 16-year-old Damian Duran, shot and killed in the Gage Park neighborhood.
The medical examiner said families have about a year to claim cremated remains. If they don’t claim them, the ashes are buried at county expense.