Grim delays await New York's unclaimed dead before burial

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Hart Island is where New York City's unclaimed dead have been laid to rest since 1869.

Every year, about 1,500 bodies are transported to this strip of land near the Bronx, and inmates from Rikers Island earn 50 cents an hour for stacking coffins three deep.

But tragically, some bodies slated for burial on the island were kept in storage, sometimes for years.

Learn more about the mysterious island and the people laid to rest there in the gallery below:

15 PHOTOS
Potter's field cemetery in New York
See Gallery
Potter's field cemetery in New York
A ferry approaches Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A New York City Department of Corrections bus is seen amid abandoned buildings and marked mass grave sites on Hart Island, New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A ferry approaches Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A headstone stands in a visitor area on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A small statue stands on the shore of Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A crumbling peace monument, built in 1948 by former inmates, stands on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A holding container where disinterred human remains removed from mass graves were kept is seen on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Stones mark mass graves on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tools are seen in a holding container on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A heart painted on a rock lies on a headstone in a visitor area on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A damaged stone marks a mass grave on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Stones marking mass graves stand on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A cross made of stones is seen amid stones marking mass graves on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Buildings stand on Hart Island, the former location of a prison and hospital that is a potter's field burial site of as many as one million people, in New York, United States June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar SEARCH "PAUPERS GRAVE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners