Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 29. Office of County Coroner

Custody And Disposition Of Bodies Held Pending Investigation

7-4-2915. Custody and disposition of bodies held pending investigation. (1) In the course of an inquiry authorized under the provisions of 46-4-122, the coroner may take custody of a dead human body and cause it to be removed from the site of death to a facility designated by the coroner.

(2) A dead human body in the custody of a county coroner must be held until the coroner, after consultation with appropriate law enforcement officials and the county attorney, establishes that it is not necessary to hold the body to determine the reasonable and true cause of death or that the body is no longer necessary to assist any local investigations.

(3) If the identity of a dead human body is unknown or if those entitled to custody of a body do not claim it, the coroner shall take custody of the body even if the circumstances of the death do not otherwise require an inquiry by the coroner.

(4) A dead human body in the custody of the coroner may be released by the coroner to the custody of a person who is entitled to custody or to a funeral home.

(5) The coroner shall release to a funeral home a dead human body that is not designated to be released to a specific funeral home by the deceased prior to death, by the deceased's next of kin, or by a friend of the deceased who will take financial responsibility for the disposition of the body. The coroner shall rotate the release of bodies to funeral homes in a manner that is fair and equitable. The coroner may not release a body to a funeral home if the funeral home has requested in writing by December 1 of the preceding year that it does not wish to participate in the release of bodies under this section.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 378, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 11, Ch. 660, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 443, Ch. 61, L. 2007.