CHEHALIS, Wash. -- Lewis County’s coroner is on a mission.
Warren McCloud is going to bury the 17 boxes of unclaimed human remains later this month, unless he and his staff can contact relatives.
“They don’t deserve to be sitting on a shelf in the back,” said McCloud.
McCloud said he got a cemetery to donate a plot for the remains. Any unclaimed remains will be buried August 22.
McCloud said his office has been able to reunite a number of families who did not know the remains were at the coroner’s office.
“It’s very emotional,” said McCloud, “But it’s gratifying to know we’re able to find families for these folks and they’re able to go home with their families.”
Dwayne Blackney thought his father had died when he got a call from the coroner’s office.
He was surprised to learn they were calling about his mother who died in 2002.
Blackney and his younger brother were not available at the time to give her a proper burial.
“We got arrested,” said Blackney, who calls himself a drug addict.
Blackney was grateful to be able to spread his mother’s ashes, no matter how long ago she died.
He imagines the other families will want to claim their loved ones too.
“I hope he [coroner] has as just an easy time finding the others,” said Blackney.
Here are the names of the still-unclaimed remains: Lawrence T. Erickson, Richard Farrell, Delores Fletcher, Mary Katherine Gibson, Gladys Vivian Pitts, Hiram Mahlon Coleman, Edward M. Dombrowe, Harry Edwin Fields, Jr., Stella Richardson, Michael S. Edin, David J. Robertson, Eugene Briese, Gary M. Ward, William Dane, Richard Fisher, and Curt Lynn Allison.