Author Topic: Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue  (Read 1433 times)

Debra

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Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue
« on: August 07, 2009, 01:04:52 PM »
This is just so sad

Quote
Generally, the economic well-being of a municipality is measured by unemployment rates and quarterly earnings reports. But Schmidt's cooler may say as much about metropolitan Detroit's financial health as any statistics released by the Federal Reserve.

"It really is a sign of how bad things have gotten," says Schmidt, 52, a 16-year veteran of the Detroit death scene. "Some people really have to make a choice of putting food on the table or burying their loved ones. It is very sad really. In all of my years here, I have never seen it this bad."

As a comparison, the doctor said that just a few years ago, when credit was easy and SUVs were a must-have, he would typically have no more than 10 unclaimed bodies at any one time.

But nowadays, people are using his cooler like a no-charge cold storage facility, he says. Corpses linger longer and longer as family members wait for a paycheck, a tax return, the lottery or a lawsuit to get the money needed to give their dead a proper burial. And thus, Grandpa lingers. Some of the dead have been signed over to the county by people either unable or unwilling to pay for the burial.

The dead who have been signed away by their families find themselves bound in bureaucratic red tape. They await a $700 check from the state Department of Human Services, which, because of its own budgetary constraints, last year slashed the burial grant from $900.

Once the state money is received, Wayne County will kick in another $250 and the remains will be contracted out to a funeral home that will place them in a pauper's grave. Cremation is never a consideration, says Schmidt, as state law prohibits it.

The process takes about two months, and by that time, another 15 to 20 corpses will have taken their places in the cooler. Schmidt may handle as many 200 indigent cases this year.

There are an additional 20 bodies in the cooler waiting for investigators to locate a next of kin. Another two bodies have yet to be identified, including a femur that has been there for several years.

http://detnews.com/article/20090806/MET ... Co.-morgue
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lagatta

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Re: Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 04:03:38 PM »
Sad indeed. Also note that most of the unclaimed dead are middle-aged.
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Toedancer

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Re: Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 07:03:57 PM »
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Cremation is never a consideration, says Schmidt, as state law prohibits it.

WTF is that about?
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skdadl

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Re: Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 08:10:23 PM »
Quote from: Toedancer
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Cremation is never a consideration, says Schmidt, as state law prohibits it.

WTF is that about?

I wondered too, but I think that must apply to unidentified remains, or any remains that remain in the control of the state. They can't be cremated, just in case at some future point identification is possible, or something like that.

Croghan27

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Re: Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 07:10:32 PM »
Sounds like something thought up by Elmore Leonard  - he's from Detroit.
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