(b) The board shall have authority to appoint such officers, employees and agents as may be necessary to carry out the purposes for which the board is organized. It shall keep a full and complete record of its transactions, showing, among other things, every dead human body coming under its authority, giving name, sex, age, date of death, place from which received and when and from whom received, which record shall be open at all times to the inspection of the attorney general and any prosecuting attorney in the state.
(c) The board shall be responsible for making requisition for, receiving and making disposition of the dead human bodies for the scientific uses and purposes of reputable education institutions, within the state and elsewhere, having medical, osteopathy, dentistry or nursing schools. The board shall have full power to establish rules for its own government and for the requisition, use, disposition and control of such bodies as may come under its authority by way of gift, pursuant to this section or pursuant to section four, article nineteen, chapter sixteen of this code.
(d) All dead human bodies which may come under the charge or control of any mortician, any officer or agent of the department of welfare or of any county commission or municipality, or any superintendent, officer or agent having the supervision of any prison, morgue, hospital or other public institution in this state and which may be required to be buried at public expense, shall be subject to the requisition of the board as provided in this section. No such body shall be delivered to the board if any person related to the deceased by blood or marriage shall make a statement in writing to that effect and shall claim such body for burial or shall make affidavit that the relative is unable to bear the expense of burial and desires that the deceased be buried at public expense. This statement and affidavit may be filed by any such relative with the person having charge and control of the body of the person so claimed, either before or after the death of such person.
(e) No autopsy shall be performed on any unclaimed body without the written permission of the board, except upon the proper order of a duly authorized law-enforcement officer.
(f) It shall be the duty of any person who has charge or control of any unclaimed body, subject to requisition by the board, to give notice to the board of that fact by telephone or telegraph within twenty-four hours after such body comes under that person's control. Thereafter, such person shall hold the body subject to the order of the board for at least twenty-four hours after the sending of such notice. If the board makes requisition for the body within the twenty-four hour period, it shall be delivered, pursuant to the order of the board, to the board or its authorized agent for transportation to any education institution which the board considers to be in bona fide need of the body and able to adequately control, use and dispose of the body. The board shall make suitable arrangements for the transportation of any body, or part or parts of any body, which may come under its authority to the education institution. All expenses incurred in connection with the preservation, delivery and transportation of any body delivered pursuant to the order of the board shall be paid by the education institution receiving the body.
(g) No dead body shall be received or requisitioned by the board until the members of the board have filed a bond with the clerk of the circuit court of Kanawha County in a penalty of one thousand dollars, with good security, signed by a responsible person or persons, or by some surety company authorized to do business in this state, or have proved to the clerk that they are covered by a suitable bond in at least that amount, conditioned for the faithful performance of their duties.
(h) Any person who shall neglect, refuse or fail to perform any duty required by this section relating to the board shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the county or regional jail for not more than ten days or by both such fine and imprisonment. Any person who fails to give the required notice that that person has charge of an unclaimed body subject to requisition by the board shall also be personally liable for all burial expenses, if such body was buried at public expense, to the public agency that paid for the burial.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.