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Abandoned Remains

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The following directions are designed to provide standardized assistance to mortuaries, funeral homes, cremation services, and nursing facilities who have apparently abandoned human remains.  We have an additional form for abandoned fetal remains.



Abandonment Process Checklist


1) Do you have contact information for a legal next of kin (Refer to Health and Safety Code Section 7100)?


No Using the following link, submit an on-line referral to the Public Administrator.

Provide as much of the decedent’s information as possible and wait for a response from the Public Administrator. If you receive information that next of kin cannot be located, retain that documentation and provide it with the documentation requested below in 2) A.

          If you receive next of kin information proceed as below ↓


YesComplete the “Sample Notification Letter” and send it via registered letter/return receipt


2) When 30 days have elapsed from the date of family notification, forward, via fax to San Diego County Medical Examiner / Abandoned Body Investigator (858) 694-8975:

  1. Any documentation of telephone conversations with family and/or family representatives
  2. Copy of the completed “Sample Notification Letter” and the return receipt
  3. Copy of the First Call sheet (if you are a mortuary)
  4. Signed copy of the Certificate of Abandonment (if you are a mortuary or hospital in possession of abandoned remains)
  5. Copy of the death certificate
  6. When the PA was contacted, copies of any documents or notes pertaining to next of kin contacts or next of kin searches.
  7. The current location of the remains