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    Chapter 17B: Establishment of department; "the department" defined

      Section: 52:17B-220: Responsibilities of county, intercounty medical examiner.

          9. a. If the official with custody of the human remains is not a medical examiner, the official shall promptly transfer the unidentified remains to the appropriate county or intercounty medical examiner.

b. The county or intercounty medical examiner shall make reasonable attempts to promptly identify human remains. These actions may include, but are not limited to, obtaining:

(1) photographs of the human remains;

(2) dental or skeletal X-rays;

(3) photographs of items found with the human remains;

(4) fingerprints from the remains, if possible;

(5) samples of tissue suitable for DNA typing, if possible;

(6) samples of whole bone or hair suitable for DNA typing; and

(7) any other information that may support identification efforts.

c. No medical examiner or any other person shall dispose of, or engage in actions that will materially affect, the unidentified human remains before the county medical examiner obtains:

(1) samples suitable for DNA identification archiving;

(2) photographs of the unidentified human remains; and

(3) all other appropriate steps for identification have been exhausted.

d. Unidentified human remains shall not be cremated.

e. The county or intercounty medical examiner shall make reasonable efforts to obtain prompt DNA analysis of biological samples if the human remains have not been identified by other means within 30 days.

f. The medical examiner shall seek support from appropriate State and federal agencies to assist in the identification of unidentified human remains. Such assistance may include, but not be limited to, available mitochondrial or nuclear DNA testing, federal grants for DNA testing, or federal grants for crime laboratory or medical examiner office improvement.

g. The county or intercounty medical examiner shall seek support from appropriate federal and State agency representatives to have information promptly entered in federal and State databases by those representatives that can aid in the identification of a missing person. Information shall be entered into federal databases as follows:

(1) information for the National Crime Information Center within 24 hours;

(2) DNA profiles and information shall be entered into the National DNA Index System (NDIS) within five business days after the completion of the DNA analysis and procedures necessary for the entry of the DNA profile; and

(3) information sought by the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program database as soon as practicable.

h. Nothing in this act shall be construed to preclude any medical examiner office, the State Police, or any local law enforcement agency from other actions to facilitate the identification of unidentified human remains, including efforts to publicize information, descriptions, or photographs that may aid in the identification of the unidentified remains, including allowing family members to identify a missing person; provided that in taking these actions, all due consideration is given to protect the dignity and well-being of the missing person and the family of the missing person.

i. Agencies handling the remains of a missing person who is deceased shall notify the law enforcement agency handling the missing person's case. Documented efforts shall be made to locate family members of the deceased person to inform them of the death and location of the remains of their family member.

L.2007, c.279, s.9; amended 2018, c.62, s.50.

This section added to the Rutgers Database: 2018-08-17 13:22:55.

Older versions of 52:17B-220 (if available):

Court decisions that cite this statute: CLICK HERE.