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Georgia State Code
Title      45
Chapter      16  
Section Navigation     1 ... 10           11 ... 25.1  
    26 ... 34         35 ... 44    
    45 ... 64         65 ... 80      
Section<<< 11 11.1 11.2 20 21 22 23 24 25 25.1 >>>  
Title 45, Chapter 16, Section 25 (45-16-25)

(a)(1) Upon receipt of the notice required by Code Section 45-16-24, the coroner or county medical examiner shall immediately take charge of the body. If a registered professional nurse authorized to make a pronouncement of death under Code Section 31-10-16 or a qualified physician is not available, a coroner, deputy coroner, or medical examiner's investigator may make a pronouncement of death at the investigation scene if, and only if, one or more of the following conditions is met:

(A) The body is in a state of rigor mortis with lividity present;

(B) The body is in a state of decomposition evidenced by a component of putrefaction;

(C) The body is skeletonized; or

(D) Death has been established by qualified emergency medical services personnel.

(2) It shall be the duty of a coroner notified as required by Code Section 45-16-24 to summon a medical examiner and proper peace officer. It shall be the duty of a county medical examiner so notified to summon a proper peace officer. When present at the scene of death, the peace officer shall have jurisdiction over the scene of death. The medical examiner or coroner and the peace officer shall together make inquiries regarding the cause, manner, and circumstances of death. If either the peace officer or medical examiner is not present at the scene of death, then whichever of the two officers is present shall have jurisdiction over the scene of death. If neither the peace officer nor the medical examiner is present at the scene of death in any county in which the office of coroner has not been replaced by a county medical examiner, the coroner shall assume the responsibility of such officers at the scene of death and shall have the body transported to a local medical examiner who shall conduct a medical examiner's inquiry. The medical examiner, at any time, to facilitate examination, when he or she deems it necessary, may have the body embalmed or retain it for refrigeration for preservation or to avoid the threat of infectious disease prior to release of the body to the next of kin. Such expense of embalming shall be paid by the county of the coroner's or medical examiner's jurisdiction.

(b) When positive identification of dead bodies has not been established conclusively through personal visual examination of the remains by persons well acquainted with the decedent in life or by comparison of fingerprints or footprints or by identification of unique physical characteristics, such as prosthetic appliances, or by comparison of skeletal X-rays, including previous fractures, or by amputations, the medical examiner must either chart or X-ray the decedent's dentition or call upon a licensed dentist of the medical examiner's choosing to carry out a dental examination of the body. This may be accomplished either by examination in situ or by removal of the jaws with teeth to the dentist's office. The dentist shall chart the deceased's dentition and make two copies, one of which shall be filed with the medical examiner's inquiry report to the division and the other with the Georgia Crime Information Center of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The dentist may, at his or her discretion, make such X-rays of the mouth as he or she deems necessary. The dentist shall be paid a fee as determined in accordance with Code Section 35-3-151. These fees shall be paid by the county of the coroner's or local medical examiner's jurisdiction.

(c) The coroner or county medical examiner shall, in the absence of the next of kin of the deceased person, take possession of all property of value found on such person, make an exact inventory thereof on his or her report, and surrender the same to the person entitled to its custody or possession. The coroner, medical examiner, or peace officer shall take possession of any objects, anatomical specimens, or articles which, in his or her opinion, may be helpful in establishing the cause of death, manner of death, or identification of the deceased; and in cooperation with the division he or she may make such tests and examinations of said objects, specimens, or articles as may be necessary or useful in determining the cause of death, manner of death, or the identity of the deceased. At his or her discretion, the medical examiner or coroner may dispose of such objects, specimens, or articles when the medical examiner's or coroner's need for their retention has ended. In the event that a criminal prosecution arises, all such objects and articles together with reports of any examinations made upon them shall be retained in the custody of the director of the division until their production as evidence is required by the prosecuting officer or upon written order of the peace officer in charge or court having proper jurisdiction.

Sunday May 24 13:17 EDT


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