IDAHO FALLS – Her funeral lasted less than five minutes. Nobody who knew her was there.
The body lay on a particleboard casket covered with gray cloth. She wore donated clothing. Her grave liner was concrete, the “minimum as required by the cemetery.”
Dorothy M. Kajpust, or at least that’s who investigators think she is, died last month after someone bashed her skull and left her in a metal trailer home near Ririe. Bonneville County investigators consider it a murder and haven’t found Kajpust’s family or friends.
This is how people are buried when there’s no one to claim the body: Funeral workers lowered the body into a hole. They stayed silent for half a minute. They shoveled dirt. They left.
“That was it,” said Jeff Baird, equipment operator and Fielding Memorial Cemetery. “There’s hardly anything more you can say.”
No speeches. No music. No preacher.
Her funeral passed so quickly the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office detectives investigating the case didn’t know it happened until more than a week later. They planned to discuss arrangements and alert the public this week, but Kajpust was buried Sept. 1 without announcement.
Her body rests several feet under a grass field down a dirt road off Yellowstone Highway, next to other bodies buried without fanfare on the county side of Fielding Memorial Cemetery. The county buries people if no family and friends will pay. Last year, Bonneville County buried 14 people.
A shiny metal plate the size of a legal envelope – a temporary marker – identifies her grave. Mud and dead grass obscure the marker’s brass lettering: “Dorothy Kajpust/1950-2004.” Investigators know hardly anything about the 53-year-old except that she cleaned semi cabs at truck stops and moved one place to the next. Deputies haven’t arrested anyone.
“Somebody did something atrocious, and nobody knows about it,” said Phil Perkes, a manager at Buck-Miller-Hann Funeral Home and Cremation Services, which oversaw the funeral. “It leaves a hole in your heart when you know she is a human being.”
Bouquets decorate some of the burial sites near Kajpust’s. A Black Medic weed sprouts from the ground near Kajpust’s. One of the weed’s toothpicklike blossoms slants toward her grave and bows its head.