A tiny Kentucky community struggling with the problem of unclaimed bodies has turned to social media to help locate the next of kin for multiple individuals recently.
Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond said unclaimed bodies turn up in the office several times a year. This is often due to there being no identification on the deceased. Sometimes, family members choose not to claim the body.
“This is a huge problem, and it continues to grow every year,” Hammond said.
Post Received 1400 Shares
At the end of December, the office requested help in finding family members for 61-year-old David Hamilton Sell who was discovered dead on Chatteroi Street in Ashland.
The Coroner’s Office shared the post on Facebook and received a tremendous response. Hammond said, “The post was shared more than 1400 times and has helped. I am happy to say that we have made contact with family in Oklahoma.”
The public was also able to help in a second case just a few days later. Eric Peterson, 55, died at King’s Daughters Medical Center. The only information available was that he came to the hospital from South Point, Ohio.
The Coroner’s Office posted on social media and requested that anyone with knowledge of a next-of-kin contact them. The post received over 600 shares and the office was able to locate the next of kin.
Funeral Homes Pitch In To Help
When families cannot be located, the office turns to local funeral homes for help. Funeral homes take turns assisting the county. Hammond said, “All funeral homes take turns helping in this process. Without their help, the fees would be astronomical. Every funeral home truly cares about getting this done and jumps in when asked. The road department is also a huge part of this program. They take care of digging the graves and working hand and hand with the funeral homes. Without everyone’s help, the money it would take would be unreal.”