updated 10/12/2006 9:47:42 PM ET 2006-10-13T01:47:42

The bodies of 65 Hurricane Katrina victims, of which just half have been identified, remain unclaimed more than a year after the storm, the Orleans Parish coroner said Thursday.

In all, more than 1,300 bodies were collected in Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita battered the region last year. Of those, 33 remain unidentified as investigators exhaust DNA and other tests, said coroner Frank Minyard.

"It's getting tougher," he said. The number of unidentified bodies continues to fall slowly; in August, there were 49.

Minyard and other local officials have said it's likely that some bodies will never be identified because the victims were estranged from genetic relatives or didn't have enough relatives to make matches.

State and federal officials had turned over about 200 bodies to Minyard in April.

The unclaimed bodies are being stored in refrigerated trailers and a warehouse near the Louisiana Superdome.

Minyard said there are no plans to bury the unclaimed remains for at least another year. He said he hopes that a Katrina memorial will eventually be built to remember the tragedy and provide a final resting place for the bodies that haven't been identified or claimed.

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