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The ashes of 37 people will be scattered into Puget Sound next month if family members or friends don’t claim them soon.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office doesn’t have the space to hold unclaimed remains indefinitely. If remains are unclaimed after a year, they are scattered at sea.


The practice started in 2014 with 23 unclaimed people, six of whom were unidentified.

This year, the number of unclaimed remains is up to 37.

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The oldest case is Wesley R. Feely, 76, who died in July 1998. Someone found his cremated remains and turned them in.

The youngest in the group is Jeremie Hamilton, 33, who died July 15, 2014, in Tacoma. The oldest is Leo Edward Hoffner, 87, who died Sept. 30, 2014, in Tacoma.

Details of the deaths were not released.

Dr. Thomas Clark, the medical examiner, said scattering ashes from a sheriff’s boat is more dignified and environmentally friendly than allowing ashes to remain stored on a shelf.

Before the Medical Examiner’s Office scatters remains, its investigators exhaust all of the leads they can to track down the dead person’s next of kin, said Amber Larkins, the office’s operations manager.

That includes checking prior addresses, estate records, jail bookings, medical records at local hospitals and the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

In some cases, if investigators find a prior address but no contact information, they occasionally send a chaplain to the location to try to find someone to claim the remains.

Of the 37 remains that will be scattered, investigators could find only one family member. It was unclear whether that person plans to claim the remains.

The Medical Examiner’s Office contracts with Tuell-McKee Funeral and Cremation Services of Tacoma to transport bodies, handle cremations and help the office with unclaimed remains.

Larkins said the funeral home often is more successful than the county in tracking down family members.

Thomas McKee of Tuell-McKee said that, over the years, the funeral home has a success rate of 60 to 80 percent in finding the next of kin.

However he said that, in his experience, if remains go unclaimed at first, that won’t change after a year, and many of the 37 unclaimed remains have been in the county’s possession for at least that long.

Relatives or friends have until Aug. 1 to call 253-798-6494 to claim cremains of the following people:

▪ Steven Michael Aichele, 46. Died April 13, 2013, in Lakewood.

▪ Brandy Lynn Baker, 71. Died Dec, 21, 2014, in Tacoma.

▪ Roger D. Bateman, 73. Died April 26, 2015, in Lakewood.

▪ Shawn E. Boyce, 48. Died July 22, 2015, in University Place.

▪ Robert J. Cemelich, 73. Died May 7, 2015, in Tacoma, in Tacoma.

▪ John L. Coulter, 72. Died Jan. 29, 2015.

▪ Joseph B. Dowaschinski, 67. Died Oct. 21, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Linda Jo Duff, 46. Died July 30, 2014 in Fife.

▪ Wesley R. Feely, 76. Died July 22, 1998.

▪ Jack David Ferneau, 70. Died May 10, 2015 in South Prairie.

▪ Sherry Lynn Fuglestad, 55. Died Dec. 31, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Daisy Mae Gibson, 61. Died Feb. 21, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Toney Quinn Green, 59. Died June 26, 2015 in Lakewood.

▪ Jeremie Hamilton, 33. Died July 15, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Elsie June Hammett, 82. Died Apr. 13, 2015 in Puyallup.

▪ Trudy H. Hanson, 74. Died Sept. 29, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Leo Edward Hoffner, 87. Died Sept. 30, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Arnold Len Holm, 79. Died Nov. 13, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Kenneth Dewayne Hornaday, 58. Died Nov. 25, 2014 in Puyallup.

▪ Nelda Jo Johnson, 69. Died May 10, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Lissa Kay Lee, 58. Died Mar. 13, 2015 in Lakewood.

▪ Patrick J. Linbeck, 65. Died May 1, 2015 in Puyallup.

▪ Clifford W. Locklin, 79. Died Jan. 19, 2015 in Lakewood.

▪ Daryl Rand Lupien, 60. Died Mar. 26, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Joseph Frank Martonfi, 66. Died June 4, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Thomas McDonald Morris, 70. Died Sept. 12, 2014 in Lakewood.

▪ Rick Lynn Morrison, 56. Died Apr. 14, 2015 in Puyallup.

▪ Catherine Ocon, 59. Died May 17, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ William F. Parker, 48. Died June 18, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Carl Lee Peterson, 64. Died May 5, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Martin (Marty) K. Ross, 59. Died Mar. 12, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ James A. Swanson, 64. Died Dec. 2, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Doris Thompson, 69. Died Nov. 23, 2014 in Lakewood.

▪ Diana White, 71. Died Sept. 30, 2014 in Tacoma.

▪ Gregory Lynn Wohlmacher, 61. Died Feb. 1, 2015 in Tacoma.

▪ Donna Jean Wolf, 54. Died July 20, 2014 in Tacoma.

Staff writer Hannah Shirley contributed to this report.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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Source : http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article88907717.html

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