The Washington Post has an interesting story about the disposition of unclaimed remains in the District of Columbia. Also includes references to the law in Maryland:
After attempting to contact relatives and waiting three days for them to come forward, Maryland donates its unclaimed remains to medical research, declaring on a graveyard monument its “deep appreciation for those who gave unselfishly of themselves to advance medical education.”
“Maryland has always had a system,” said Ronn Wade, an official with the state Anatomy Board, which handles unclaimed remains.
Wade said the number of unclaimed bodies in the state has risen steadily in recent decades. In 1973, the state buried 60 unclaimed bodies — but last year, it handled 729. This surge, Wade said, isn’t just about population growth or poverty. Rather, life spans have lengthened and families have grown smaller, more spread out and less close-knit.