22-3-805. Discovery -- reporting requirements -- field review. (1) A person who by archaeological excavation or by agricultural, mining, construction, or other ground-disturbing activity discovers human skeletal remains, a burial site, or burial material shall immediately notify the county coroner. Failure to notify the county coroner subjects a person to the penalty provided in 22-3-808.
(2) Upon discovery of human skeletal remains, a burial site, or burial material, excavation or further disturbance must cease until the coroner has determined whether the remains are subject to the provisions of Title 46, chapter 4, or any other related provisions of law concerning the investigation of the circumstances, manner, and cause of death or whether a forensic examination of the human skeletal remains, burial site, or burial material is necessary. The coroner shall make a determination within 2 working days from the time the person responsible for the excavation notifies the coroner of the discovery or recognition of the remains. If the coroner cannot make the determination within 2 working days, the coroner shall notify a member of the board of the reason for and the approximate length of the delay. The coroner shall take all reasonable steps to make a determination without removing or causing further disturbance of the remains.
(3) If a forensic examination, action under Title 46, chapter 4, or action under any other related provisions of law concerning the investigation of the circumstances, manner, and cause of death is necessary and yields evidence of criminal activity, the evidence may be seized by the coroner or law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for use in a criminal proceeding as provided by law.
(4) If the coroner determines that the remains are not subject to the provisions of Title 46, chapter 4, or any other provisions of law concerning the investigation of the circumstances, manner, and cause of death and that a forensic examination is not necessary, the coroner shall telephone the state historic preservation officer within 24 hours. Within 24 hours of notification, the state historic preservation officer shall contact either the landowner and the board or the landowner and the board member representing the nearest reservation and notify them of the discovery of human skeletal remains, a burial site, or burial material.
(5) If the state historic preservation officer cannot be contacted, the coroner shall notify a member of the board or the law enforcement agency of the nearest reservation within 24 hours. The board or the agency shall immediately notify the landowner and the board member representing that reservation.
(6) Within 36 hours after the board receives notification of a discovery of human skeletal remains, a burial site, or burial material, the board shall designate representatives to conduct, with the permission of the landowner, an initial field review. If the field review cannot be completed within the next 36 hours, the board's representatives shall negotiate with the landowner or the landowner's representative for a reasonable time extension to complete the review. The field review must include:
(a) a determination of whether the site can be preserved;
(b) negotiation with the landowner concerning onsite reburial or disinterment and reburial; and
(c) a recommendation, including a timeframe, concerning final treatment or disposition of the human skeletal remains or burial material.
(7) If the board's representatives fail to make a recommendation or if the landowner and the board cannot agree and mediation fails to provide, within 40 days after notification to the board, a resolution acceptable to the landowner and the board, the human skeletal remains and burial materials must be removed and control is vested in the board. The board shall give control of the remains or materials in the following priority to:
(a) the descendants, if identifiable;
(b) the tribe or other cultural group that has the closest cultural affiliation with the human skeletal remains or burial materials;
(c) the tribe or other cultural group recognized as having aboriginally or historically occupied the area where the remains or materials were discovered if, upon notification by the board, the tribe or cultural group states a claim for the remains or materials; or
(d) if unclaimed by any tribe or cultural group, the board, which shall determine the appropriate disposition and oversee the reinterment of the remains and materials.
(8) For purposes of this section, "cultural group" means a present-day group or organization that has a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced historically or prehistorically to an identifiable earlier group or organization.