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Unclaimed remains of 34 people who died in Pierce County spread on Puget Sound

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PIERCE COUNTY – The Pierce County medical examiner’s office arranged for the unclaimed remains of 34 people to be spread on Puget Sound this week.

The people died between 1998 and 2015, at ages ranging from 33 to 87. The remains have gone unclaimed despite efforts to notify next of kin. The medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Clark, says relatives aren’t always interested in claiming the remains.

The county doesn’t have resources to store the remains indefinitely, and Clark says scattering the ashes is more dignified than keeping them on a shelf.

The medical examiner’s office began the practice in 2014, when it scattered the remains of 23 people, six of whom were unidentified.