§ 23-18.1-1. Public expense burials.
Unless the office of the state medical examiners has established its jurisdiction over the body of a deceased person in accordance with chapter 4 of this title, whoever has custody of the body of a deceased person required to be buried at public expense shall use reasonable efforts to ascertain if the deceased person has any relative or friend who will assume responsibility for burial at his or her expense. If no such person is found within twenty-four (24) hours after death, the person having custody of the dead body shall notify the director of the department of human services or his or her designee who shall arrange for the removal of the unclaimed body. If the body is not claimed at or before the expiration of thirty (30) hours thereafter, the director of the department of human services or his or her designee shall give public notice of its finding and a description of the unclaimed body, and within a reasonable time thereafter cause the body to be decently buried; and if the director certifies that he or she has made careful inquiry and that to the best of his or her knowledge and belief the person found dead is a stranger having no settlement in any city or town of the state, the actual expense of burial shall be paid from the general treasury upon proper vouchers for the burial approved by the director of human services in accordance with provisions of this section. To the extent that the department of human services makes payment of the burial expenses, it shall have the right to recover the burial expenses from the estate of the deceased person.
(P.L. 1976, ch. 263, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 23-42-1; P.L. 1979, ch. 39, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 23-18.1-1; P.L. 2004, ch. 201, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 350, § 1.)