Doña Ana to bury unclaimed ashes

El Paso News

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – The remains of 32 people whose bodies have not been claimed in Doña Ana will be buried Wednesday, May 26, at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Las Cruces, with Jess Williams officiating the non-denominational service. 

The ceremony will be closed to public due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Each of the bodies has been cremated, and the remains have been in the custody of the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department for at least two years, as required by state law.

No family or friends have come forward during that period to claim the remains.

Doña Ana County pays for cremation and eventual burial for the remains of indigent individuals who die in Doña Ana County.

The unclaimed remains of military veterans are buried each year at Santa Fe National Cemetery with full military honors. Non-veterans are interred at St. Joseph Cemetery under a contract with St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church.

Cremains can be claimed by family or friends for a fee of $600, which covers the cremation costs, by calling 575-525-5848.

The names of the cremated are:

  • Heather Burbrig, 37
  • Humberto G. Bustamante, 82
  • Robert Clinton Buzzard, 53
  • Jacqueline A. Donoghue, 67
  • Gregory Downey, 58
  • Lorraine Ferris, 64
  • Jeremy A. Griffin, 39
  • Petra Guerrero, 80
  • John Gutierrez, 58
  • Joan Harris, 74
  • Walter Harris, 79
  • William Hensley, 70
  • James Hyden, 63
  • Bruce Clark Irvine, 66
  • Timmy Jiro Jr. Johnson, 55
  • Kathleen Kemeny, 75
  • Paul H. Landwehr, 80
  • Paul  Lewis, 79
  • Tony Mata Tellez, 63
  • Dale O’Neal, 60
  • Charles W. Perez, 54
  • Terrance J. Ponzio, 60
  • Michelle D. Rarick, 62
  • Diana Robbins, 61
  • Michael Robinson, 53
  • Roberto Aguirre Rodriguez, 52
  • Robert Scott, 70
  • Jennifer L. Seip, 60
  • Miriam Sweeney, 66
  • John J. Swetonic, 59
  • George W. Swisher, 80
  • Jerry Wagner, 59

For more information about Doña Ana County, you can visit

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