Local News

Aug 29, 2013 5:32 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Taxpayers Foot Bill for Burials

CORPUS CHRISTI - You may not realize it, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in Nueces County go towards burials every year.

They're called indigent burials, burials of bodies that are usually either unclaimed or unwanted by the family. They can also be bodies of people that had some sort of government benefit in life.

The State mandates that all counties are ultimately responsible for the people that die in them if the medical examiner can't contact next of kin, if the body isn't claimed, and if the body had some sort of benefit in life that requires the county to bury it. The bodies can be cremated with the permission of the family, if family can be found or contacted.

In Nueces County, the cost for the last few years is as follows:

In 2011, there was 158 bodies for a cost of $156,251.

In 2012, there were 163 bodies for a cost of $166,865

So far this year, there has been 144 bodies for a total cost of $116,864

A single adult burial costs $1,474 and cremation costs $650.

Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal says it's something counties have to do, and the numbers fluctuate from year to year.

"We try to contract for that service at the least cost that gives some dignity to the person that has passed on," he says.

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