Pile of ‘unclaimed remains’ grows in Bibb coroner’s office
There have been 11 deaths in ten days.
“I think maybe six have been claimed,” explained Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones.
Jones is responsible for finding the person’s family members when he responds to a call.
“And then when we find the next of kin, they say ‘I don’t want anything to do with them,'” said Jones.
When a body isn’t claimed, the county pays $100 every day it’s in the morgue.
“We try to find the next of kin. We don’t just cremate someone once they die, so sometimes the body stays up there three or four days,” explained Jones.
The Department of Family and Children Services pays the $700 cremation fee. Gary Kelso is the most recent person found dead. Intown Suites employees found him in his hotel room Monday afternoon.
“He had two sons and I contacted them,” recalled Jones.
Jones said the sons didn’t want to take care of their father’s body.
“He told me they’ve been estranged for 35 to 40 years,” said Jones.
Jones explained this is the answer he gets when he talks to most family members. His legal team is getting a court order to have Kelso’s body cremated.
“Once I get that court order and have him cremated, he goes right over there,” said Jones as he points to the growing pile of “unclaimed remains” in the corner of his office.
“No family is going to get along all the time. You’re going to have ups and downs and you’re going to have disagreements. Bury the hatchet. Blood is thicker than water,” said Jones.
Jones said most of the deaths since June 20 are heat related. He advises everyone to check on their neighbors, especially if they’re elderly.