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Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Kittitas County, WA -
When someone dies the coroner searches for their family. But what happens when someone dies estranged from family, or none can be found? Any arrangement made in advance by the deceased is honored. But what happens if no arrangement is made? Or what happens if next-of-kin is found but can’t afford the cost of service? What happens if next-of-kin is not old enough to claim their loved one? All good questions. In Washington State there is a process where the coroner is responsible for the disposition of the “unclaimed”.
When elected, Coroner Nick Henderson became caretaker of those unclaimed in Kittitas County. A number which continues to grow. “Every life is worth remembering and everybody has their own story. There may be a reason why they went unclaimed in the past but that may have changed today” said Coroner Henderson. Over the last several months resources in the coroner’s office have been dedicated to reviewing records dating back to 1935. “I am hoping to reunite those who have gone unclaimed with their family. I want to know their family knows where they are today.”
“Unclaimed persons are being entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) by my office.” NAMUS automatically cross checks missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person entries. No matches have been made by NAMUS yet. However, in November 2022 genetic genealogist Elizabeth Stone, a volunteer with Unclaimedpersons.org, offered next-of-kin for cases she saw in NAMUS. Using Elizabeth’s research, two unclaimed have been reunited with their family, ending their lonely journey. Efforts to help the remaining unclaimed find their family are ongoing.
There are 41 Kittitas County unclaimed entered in NAMUS. “My whole-hearted thanks to Elizabeth for volunteering her time and expertise”, she has recently identified family for nine more cases.” Letters will be sent from the coroner’s office to the families soon. Any eligible veteran or veteran’s spouse left unclaimed will be moved to Tahoma National Cemetery if the family cannot be located. Established November 11, 1993, Tahoma has a Memorial walkway containing 36 memorials commemorating soldiers of all 20th century wars. There they will be cared for and honored for their service. Coroner Henderson will continue his vigil for the others.
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Nick Henderson, Coroner(509) email@example.com
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.