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Bodies left unclaimed, cadavers stacked high in morgues and burial rates tumbling as loved ones cut funeral costs: the crippling recession is even haunting the dead across the United States.
In Los Angeles, the local coroner's office has witnessed an unprecedented spike in the number of corpses unclaimed by families who cannot afford the costs of a burial or cremation.
"The reason we are hearing from the families is the economic downturn," Los Angeles County Coroner's chief investigator Craig Harvey told AFP. "They tell us they don't have the means to afford funerals."
In the past 12 months, the coroner's office, which is responsible for handling bodies from homicides and suspicious deaths, carried out 36 percent more cremations than the previous year, jumping to 712 from 525. At the Los Angeles County morgue meanwhile, the cremation figure rose by 25 percent.