CHICAGO (CBS) — Starting today, the Cook County Medical Examiner is posting names of the unclaimed and unidentified online — hoping to find their families and their identities.
Newsradio found the family of one unclaimed man. Here’s his story – and why he was unclaimed.
Unclaimed: 68-year-old Anthony Motkowicz. Did odd jobs and sold scrap metal. Grew up in the Hegewisch area.
“He was the golden child,” Angelica Maris.
Maris was the third wife – and ex-wife – of Anthony Motkowicz, who died in a tent fire on January 20, in Burnham – on the Illinois-Indiana line.
“When they found him, what was in my wallet was still my picture, with my number. And I was just surprised he still had my picture,” said Maris.
She says she contacted his sister, a nephew and another ex-wife.
“And so it all came out to this whole process of not anybody knowing what they can do. Nobody has the funds to do anything,” said Maris.
Maris says she told authorities Motkowicz was a veteran. But they told her to come up with the paperwork.
“And I said, ‘What happens if I can’t get hold of all that stuff?’
“‘Well, then if you can’t do anything and no family members are willing, then he would be just thrown into, basically, a tomb of 30 other people.’ And I’m like, are you serious?”
A spokeswoman for Cook County now says Anthony Motkowicz has been identified as a veteran – and will be buried as a veteran.