Subdivision 1. Procedure.
The coroner or medical examiner may take possession of all
articles that may be useful in establishing the cause or manner of death, identification, or next of
kin of the deceased, and, if taken, mark them for identification, make an inventory, and retain
them securely until they are no longer needed for evidence or investigation. Except as noted in
subdivision 2, the coroner or medical examiner shall release any property or articles needed for
any criminal investigation to law enforcement officers conducting the investigation.
Subd. 2. Retention of property.
When a reasonable basis exists for not releasing property
or articles to law enforcement officers, the coroner or medical examiner shall consult with the
county attorney. If the county attorney determines that a reasonable basis exists for not releasing
the property or articles, the coroner or medical examiner may retain them. The coroner or medical
examiner shall obtain written confirmation of this opinion and keep a copy in the decedent's file.
Subd. 3. Release of property.
With the exception of firearms, when property or articles are
no longer needed for the investigation or as evidence, the coroner or medical examiner shall
release such property or articles to the person or persons entitled to them. Personal property,
including wearing apparel, may be released to the person entitled to control the disposition of
the body of the decedent or to the personal representative of the decedent. Personal property not
otherwise released pursuant to this subdivision must be disposed of pursuant to section
Subd. 4. Firearms.
The coroner or medical examiner shall release all firearms, when no
longer needed, to the law enforcement agency handling the investigation.
Subd. 5. Property of unknown decedents.
If the name of the decedent is not known, the
coroner or medical examiner shall release such property to the county for disposal or sale. If the
unknown decedent's identity is established and if a representative shall qualify within six years
from the time of such sale, the county administrator, or a designee, shall pay the amount of
the proceeds of the sale to the representative on behalf of the estate upon order of the court. If
no order is made within six years, the proceeds of the sale shall become a part of the general
revenue of the county.
History: 2006 c 260 art 8 s 16