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updated: 9/12/2013 8:32 AM

Cook Co. closer to OKing unclaimed body cremation

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Associated Press

Cook County officials are examining whether to cremate unclaimed bodies left at the morgue.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the county's board approved changes to an ordinance Wednesday to let the medical examiner's office explore the practice for the first time.

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Cremation costs about $250 to $300 per body, compared to the $480 or so that the office spends burying bodies.

The medical examiner wants to cremate so-called "unclaimed" and "disclaimed" bodies. Those are remains that have no known next of kin or bodies where family members decline or refuse to claim the bodies.

Bodies that haven't been identified wouldn't be cremated.

Cremations wouldn't begin until policies are created by an advisory panel and a vendor is hired. Until then, bodies will continue to be buried at two cemeteries.

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