Chapter 2.74


2.74.010    Administration.

2.74.020    Definition.

2.74.030    Notification.

2.74.040    Disposition.

2.74.050    Mortuary services.

2.74.060    Burial.

2.74.070    Recoupment of expense.

2.74.080    Retention.

2.74.090    Reimbursement.

2.74.100    Aggrieved parties.

2.74.010 Administration.

The San Juan County prosecuting attorney/coroner shall have the responsibility for the administration of this chapter and is charged with jurisdiction over the remains of the deceased persons within San Juan County including the remains of indigent persons, unclaimed persons, and indigent deceased veterans and eligible family members. (Ord. 23-2018 § 1; Res. 43-1998 § 1)

2.74.020 Definition.

“Eligible family members” are the deceased family members of a veteran whose costs of burial or cremation may be paid under the rules of the veterans’ assistance fund authorized by RCW 73.08.080. For purpose of this chapter, the terms “veteran” and “family” will use the same definition found in RCW 73.08.005.

“Indigent persons” and “indigent deceased veterans” are persons, including veterans and eligible family members, who at the time of death are unable to pay reasonable costs for shelter, food, utilities and transportation or who do not have funds available for final expenses.

“Unclaimed remains” are the remains of a person who has died in San Juan County having no known relatives or friends willing to take responsibility, or any unidentified body found in San Juan County. (Ord. 23-2018 § 2; Res. 43-1998 § 2)

2.74.030 Notification.

Any funeral director in possession of unclaimed remains or remains of an indigent person who died in San Juan County or an indigent deceased veteran or eligible family member of a veteran whose last residence was San Juan County and who has provided services for said person shall notify the San Juan County coroner. Upon receipt of such notice, the coroner shall confirm that the deceased has no known relatives, and shall further confirm that no religious or fraternal organization, nor any friend or interested party, has requested authority for and is willing to assume responsibility or has funds available for the disposition of the remains of the deceased. The coroner will sign the death certificate and cremation authorization form. (Ord. 23-2018 § 3; Ord. 8-2015 § 1; Res. 43-1998 § 3)

2.74.040 Disposition.

The prosecuting attorney/coroner, after such inquiry as described above, shall accept responsibility on behalf of the County for the disposition of indigent persons and the unclaimed remains including indigent deceased veterans and eligible family members, and shall provide for payment to the funeral director rendering such essential mortuary and cremation services.

When appropriate, the prosecuting attorney/coroner will notify and work with the chair of the veterans’ advisory board to identify the indigent and unclaimed remains of veterans or eligible family members and make appropriate arrangements for mortuary and cremation services. (Ord. 23-2018 § 4; Ord. 8-2015 § 2; Res. 43-1998 § 4)

2.74.050 Mortuary services.

Essential mortuary services shall include removal from the place of death, transportation for post-mortem examination, preparation and care of the decedent for immediate disposition, a suitable container for disposition, preparation and filing of a death certificate and permits, and transportation to the crematorium or burial site. Cremation services shall include cremation, the least expensive water-resistant urn and delivery to an appropriate facility. (Ord. 23-2018 § 5; Ord. 8-2015 § 3; Res. 43-1998 § 5)

2.74.060 Burial.

The prosecuting attorney/coroner is authorized to deviate from this procedure and provide for the burial of unclaimed remains, indigent remains and indigent deceased veterans or eligible family members without cremation if circumstances so warrant. (Ord. 23-2018 § 6; Ord. 8-2015 § 4; Res. 43-1998 § 6)

2.74.070 Recoupment of expense.

The San Juan County prosecuting attorney is authorized and requested to pursue recoupment of County expense in such cases where such effort appears to be cost effective including reimbursement from the veterans’ assistance fund authorized by RCW 73.08.080. Pursuant to RCW 73.08.070, the maximum price to be paid for mortuary, burial and cremation services paid by the veterans’ assistance fund is $1,500. The fund, at the limits stated in this section, may be used to pay the relatives or friends upon presenting to the auditor or chief financial officer due proof of the death, burial or cremation, and the expenses incurred subject to the maximum price set forth in this section. (Ord. 23-2018 § 7; Res. 43-1998 § 7)

2.74.080 Retention.

Unclaimed cremains may be retained by the San Juan County prosecuting attorney/coroner or buried at a suitable location at County expense. A notation shall be made part of the coroner’s file on such person indicating the location of the remains. (Ord. 23-2018 § 8; Ord. 8-2015 § 5; Res. 43-1998 § 8)

2.74.090 Reimbursement.

The funeral home seeking payment shall submit an invoice and a copy of the disposition authorization request of the San Juan County prosecuting attorney/coroner or deputy. Claims for reimbursement should be sent to:

San Juan Prosecuting Attorney/Coroner

350 Court Street

P.O. Box 760

Friday Harbor, WA 98520

(Ord. 23-2018 § 9; Ord. 8-2015 § 6; Res. 43-1998 § 9)

2.74.100 Aggrieved parties.

Any person aggrieved by a decision made by the San Juan County prosecuting attorney/coroner to deny payment for the disposition of unclaimed or indigent remains pursuant to this chapter shall have a right to petition the San Juan County council for an opportunity to be heard at a regularly scheduled meeting of the council, and the council may, after hearing from the aggrieved party and the coroner, take such further action as it deems fit under the circumstances. (Ord. 23-2018 § 10; Ord. 42-2007 § 2; Res. 43-1998 § 10)