Unclaimed corpses push up urban morgue body counts

DETROIT (AP) - Bodies are accumulating at the Wayne County medical examiner's office as some families, hard-pressed by Detroit's poor economy, are unable to claim and bury their loved ones.

Chief investigator Albert Samuels says between 50 and 60 of the approximately 155 corpses now being stored are unclaimed. That is double the amount of any time last year.

The morgue in Detroit has disposed of 27 unclaimed bodies since Oct. 1, only three fewer than all of last fiscal year.

State payments for indigent burials soared from 577 in May to 1,067 in June. The state averaged 1,268 payments per month in October and November.

Officials in the Milwaukee and Cleveland areas, as well as Los Angeles County, also say indigent burials are up.