Pierce County scatters unclaimed remains at sea

PIERCE COUNTY -- Pierce County Medical Examiner Dr. Tom Clark distributed the remains of unclaimed individuals at sea Thursday.

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Dr. Clark scattered the remains of 23 people in the waters of Puget Sound. The ashes were either unwanted, or no relative or close friends could be found.

Dr. Clark used a Pierce County Sheriff's Department patrol and rescue boat to get out on the Sound. West Pierce Fire and Rescue Chaplains Dianne and Larry Huffman were asked to say a few words aboard the boat before the ashes were scattered.

Many of the remains were at the medical examiner's office for decades, the News Tribune reported.

For those that were unclaimed, everything was done to find the deceased's next of kin or someone they knew, the News Tribune reported. In many cases, friends and relatives were not interested in claiming the remains.

Clark told the News Tribune the release at sea was "more dignified" than have them stored forever on a shelf.