Shawnee County Considers Releasing Cremains to Family

Shawnee County leaders are weighing if they should release the ashes of people the county paid to cremate to their family.

County coroner Charles Glenn says the county cremates the bodies of an estimated 15 people free of charge annually, because they have no family, their family lacks the money to pay for a funeral service or the family doesn’t desire to provide a funeral service.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the county keeps the cremains at the coroner’s office, with the intent to scatter them later at Westlawn Memorial Gardens. Glenn says some family members are now asking for the ashes, which the county historically hasn’t handed over.

The commission’s chairman directed a county counselor Monday to prepare an analysis of the legalities involved in releasing the cremains.