The Benton County Coroners office has a growing problem that is cutting into it's budget:  having to cremate bodies of persons who have died, and are not claimed by relatives.

According to Benton County, an increasing number of people die, and once the coroner has performed necessary and legal examinations, their bodies are never claimed by known families or relatives for burial--even when the families live close by!   Hard to imagine, but at the bequest of the Coroner's office, Benton County may start billing those known relatives $500 to cover the cost of cremating the person's remains.    County officials realize economic times are tough, especially for what they call indigent or low income families, but too many relatives are sticking the county with these expensive bills.  County officials said even if you only have 2-3 bodies every few months, it can add up quickly.