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Pierce County says remains of 37 people will be spread if left unclaimed

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Religion, death and dolor - mortician on funeral with urn

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office says friends and relatives have one last chance to claim the remains of 37 people before their ashes are scattered in Puget Sound next month.

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.