(1) A person or entity that comes into possession, charge, or control of unclaimed remains that are required to be buried or cremated at public expense shall immediately notify the anatomical board, unless:
(a) The unclaimed remains are decomposed or mutilated by wounds;
(b) An autopsy is performed on the remains;
(c) The remains contain a contagious disease;
(d) A legally authorized person objects to use of the remains for medical education or research; or
(e) The deceased person was a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Reserve Forces, or National Guard and is eligible for burial in a national cemetery or was the spouse or dependent child of a veteran eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
(2) Before the final disposition of unclaimed remains, the person or entity in charge or control of the remains shall make a reasonable effort to:
(a) Determine the identity of the deceased person and contact any relatives of the deceased person.
(b) Determine whether the deceased person is eligible under 38 C.F.R. s. 38.620 for burial in a national cemetery as a veteran of the armed forces and, if eligible, to cause the deceased person’s remains or cremated remains to be delivered to a national cemetery.
For purposes of this subsection, “a reasonable effort” includes contacting the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, the county veterans service office, or the regional office of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(3) Unclaimed remains shall be delivered to the anatomical board as soon as possible after death. When no family exists or is available, a funeral director licensed under chapter 497 may assume the responsibility of a legally authorized person and may, after 24 hours have elapsed since the time of death, authorize arterial embalming for the purposes of storage and delivery of unclaimed remains to the anatomical board. A funeral director licensed under chapter 497 is not liable for damages under this subsection.
(4) The remains of a deceased person whose identity is not known may not be cremated, donated as an anatomical gift, buried at sea, or removed from the state.
(5) If the anatomical board does not accept the unclaimed remains, the board of county commissioners or its designated county department of the county in which the death occurred or the remains were found may authorize and arrange for the burial or cremation of the entire remains. A board of county commissioners may by resolution or ordinance, in accordance with applicable laws and rules, prescribe policies and procedures for final disposition of unclaimed remains.
(6) This part does not affect the right of a medical examiner to hold human remains for the purpose of investigating the cause of death or the right of any court of competent jurisdiction to enter an order affecting the disposition of such remains.