Unclaimed ashes more common than some may think

24 boxes of unclaimed remains at ME's Office

SAN DIEGO - After someone left human ashes at an Ocean Beach car wash, 10News went to the Medical Examiner's Office to get answers.

Investigator Julio Estrada told 10News there are 24 boxes of unclaimed human remains on the shelf in the cooler at the Medical Examiner's Office.

"We've heard similar stories before… Not necessarily at a car wash but like I said, at a park, at an abandoned house, even on the street," said Estrada.

Sometimes people misplace the ashes and sometimes they abandon them.

Estrada told 10News when the ashes show up at the Medical Examiner's Office, they try everything they can to find them a home. If there is enough paperwork, they often do.

"Whenever we find family and notify them that we have the remains, it gives a little satisfaction... that we closed that door," said Estrada.

However, that door does not always close. If the county has exhausted all of its options and cannot find any relatives, employees board a boat, head into the Pacific Ocean and bury the ashes at sea.

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