BOISE, Idaho. Robert Bolt once wrote, “Death comes for us all. Even for kings he comes.” But it’s a lot less complicated when death comes for the king. For starters, we know the guy’s name.
What Happens to Unidentified Deceased Idahoan?
What happens, however, when an average Joe forgets his wallet at home just before Joe hops aboard the Reaper’s ferry in a public park? What happens to his remains?
Fortunately, the state of Idaho has a dignified process in place when no one assumes responsibility for its unidentified and deceased citizens. The process unfolds in the following sequence:
- an investigation into the deceased’s background is launched by the Ada County Coroner’s Office
- once ACCO confirms they’re unable to locate the deceased Idahoan’s family, Ada County’s Public Administration steps in to liquidate the deceased’s possessions pursuant to Idaho Code 31-3412
- the case closes and any money made from the deceased’s personal property is used to offset the cost of cremation in accordance with Idaho Code 31-3412
- last, the cremated remains are returned to the county coroner for internment
Memorial for the Forgotten
From what we gather, the way Idaho manages its unclaimed decedents is standard across the country.
What makes Idaho stand out, however, are the lengths Ada County’s coroner goes to to give the unclaimed a respectful send-off into the afterlife. Each May, the Ada County coroner and Cloverdale Cemetery in Boise co-host a public Memorial for the Forgotten ceremony.
An even that requires multiple resources and a great deal of time and care to prepare for, we're very proud of how Ada County honors the life and death of its unidentified Idahoans. Details for the 2023 ceremony have yet to be determined.
Welcoming Dr. Riffle
We'd be remiss not to mention that this year, Ada County welcomed a new coroner. Congratulations, Dr. Richard D. Riffle. We appreciate the work you do for our community.
The National and Unidentified Persons System operates as a resource and database for the nation’s missing, unidentified, and unclaimed deceased citizens.
A federal initiative funded and managed by the National Institute of Justice, NamUs provides free resources to medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement, forensic personnel, and a missing person’s family.
At present, NamUs has helped Idaho resolve 272 missing person cases, 14 unidentified missing person cases, and 4 unclaimed person cases.
Keep scrolling to tour the tombstones of Boise's historic & storied Joplin Cemetery!