RS 13:5717     

§5717.  Retention of decedent's personal effects; moving or disturbing the body of a deceased person; prohibitions

A.  The coroner shall take charge of the personal effects and property of the deceased at the scene of death.  As soon as practicable all of the effects and property shall be turned over to the lawful owner after use in court when needed.

B.  The coroner shall collect any physical property or evidence found on the body which relates to the cause and manner of death or identity of the deceased.  The coroner shall request law enforcement officials to collect any physical property or evidence connected with the cause of death or identity of the deceased which is found at the scene but not on the body.  If law enforcement officials refuse to gather such evidence when requested by the coroner, the evidence may be collected by the coroner.  The evidence or effects shall then be disposed of in accordance with law.

C.  It shall be unlawful for any person without specific authorization from the coroner or his designee, other than law enforcement or medical personnel, to touch, move, or disturb the body of a deceased person or remove any personal effects or disturb the immediate area where the body is or has been found, if the deceased person's death occurred under any circumstances which reasonably suggest that the person's death, either directly or indirectly, occurred as a result of a violation of law or a coroner's case as defined by law.  However, the body may be moved if it is necessary for the preservation of the body, or if necessary to protect public safety or welfare.

Acts 1984, No. 570, §1; Acts 1986, No. 311, §1; Acts 1995, No. 288, §1; Redesignated from R.S. 33:1567 pursuant to Acts 2011, No. 248, §3.