L.A. County to remember unclaimed dead in graveside service Wednesday in Boyle Heights

A man kneels by the site of a mass grave after an interfaith service for L.A. County's unclaimed dead in December 2017.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Every December, mourners and county employees gather around a recently dug grave in Boyle Heights, remembering those who have been forgotten.

Inside are the ashes of hundreds of men, women and children who have one thing in common: They died in Los Angeles County and their remains have been unclaimed.

This year’s service is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, at the L.A. County Crematory and Cemetery, 3301 E. 1st St. next to Evergreen Cemetery.


Clergy officials of different faiths will lead prayers and songs. The service, which will last about an hour, will including the burning of incense and the laying of flowers on the gravesite. A stone marker with 2015 — the most recent year the remains were collected — will sit at one end of the grave. The cemetery is filled with markers from different years.

County officials said this year’s service will remember 1,467 people who died, most of them in 2015.

The county posted a list with many of the names of the dead. To locate or claim the remains of a relative, contact the L.A. County Office of Decedent Affairs.