Why LA County cremated and buried 1,457 people in a mass grave

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In spite of the rain, more than 100 people attended a memorial service at LA County Crematorium and Cemetery. Photos by Benjamin Gottlieb.

Los Angeles County held a memorial ceremony this week honoring the lives of 1,457 people who died in 2016, but whose remains were not claimed by loved ones.

The annual event drew clergy from a number of faiths -- Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Humanists, among others -- to recite prayers and pay their respects.

The site of a mass grave at LA County Crematorium and Cemetery in Boyle Heights.

“There are many unclaimed here that are completely unknown, but there are others who may be from impoverished families…The families just can't afford the $350 to bury them,” says Nick Jordan, a staff chaplain at LA County USC Medical Center who has participated in the remembrance for the past five years.

More than 100 people showed up for the ceremony at the LA County Crematorium and Cemetery.

The county has had a remembrance like this every year since the late 1800s.

Several wreaths stand atop a mass grave at LA County Crematorium and Cemetery in Boyle Heights.

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Credits

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel

Reporter:
Benjamin Gottlieb