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Las Cruces community honors, buries remains of those unclaimed

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Several Las Cruces community members came together to honor those who've been forgotten in a special funeral service for those whose bodies have not been claimed by their families.

The remains of 31 people were cremated and buried on Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Las Cruces. Those remains have been in the custody of the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department for at least two years, which is required by state law. Those buried were never claimed by family or friend during that time.

The county said it cost $600 to claim a body, which also covers cremations costs.

“There were people who couldn’t afford to pay the $600 fee to pay for the cremation," said David Mosher who attended the special funeral. "But it’s important, it’s very important to me and it should be to everyone...In my opinion that (those unclaimed are) aware they’re not forgotten.”

Military veterans who are unclaimed are buried at Sante Fe National Cemetery with full military honors.

These are the names of those cremated:

  • Heather Burbrig, 37
  • Humberto G. Bustamante, 82
  • Robert Clinton Buzzard, 53
  • Jacqueline A. Donoghue, 67
  • Gregory Downey, 58
  • Lorraine Ferris, 64
  • Jeremy A. Griffin, 39
  • Petra Guerrero, 80
  • John Gutierrez, 58
  • Joan Harris, 74
  • Walter Harris, 79
  • William Hensley, 70
  • James Hyden, 63
  • Bruce Clark Irvine, 66
  • Timmy Jiro Jr. Johnson, 55
  • Kathleen Kemeny, 75
  • Paul H. Landwehr, 80
  • Paul Lewis, 79
  • Tony Mata Tellez, 63
  • Dale O'Neal, 60
  • Charles W. Perez, 54
  • Terrance J. Ponzio, 60
  • Michelle D. Rarick, 62
  • Diana Robbins, 61
  • Michael Robinson, 53
  • Roberto Aguirre Rodriguez, 52
  • Robert Scott, 70
  • Jennifer L. Seip, 60
  • Miriam Sweeney, 66
  • John J. Swetonic, 59
  • George W. Swisher, 80
  • Jerry Wagner, 59

Those who want to claim a body can call 575-525-5848.

Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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Brianna Chavez


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