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     23-14-18.   Deaths to be investigated by coroner. The county coroner shall investigate any human death if a determination of the cause and manner of death is in the public interest. Nothing in the provisions of this section, § 23-14-9.1, 23-14-19, 23-14-20, 34-26-2, 34-26-5, or 34-26-14 supersedes the obligation of any county sheriff to pursue and apprehend all felons pursuant to § 7-12-1. Deaths which are in the public interest, without limitation, are:
             (1)      All deaths by unnatural means or if there is a suspicion of unnatural means, including all deaths of accidental, homicidal, suicidal, and undetermined manner, regardless of suspected criminal involvement in the death;
             (2)      All deaths where the identity of the victim is unknown or the body is unclaimed;
             (3)      All deaths of inmates of any state, county, or municipally operated correctional facility, mental institution, or special school;
             (4)      All deaths believed to represent a public health hazard;
             (5)      At the discretion of the coroner, all deaths of children under two years of age resulting from an unknown cause or if the circumstances surrounding the death indicate that sudden infant death syndrome may be the cause of death; and
             (6)      All natural deaths if the decedent is not under the care of a physician, physician's assistant, or certified nurse practitioner or if the decedent's physician, physician's assistant, or certified nurse practitioner does not feel qualified to sign the death certificate. However, the lack of an attending physician may not be construed to require an investigation or autopsy solely because the decedent was under treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination.

Source: SL 1985, ch 191, § 1; SL 1990, ch 170, § 2; SL 1991, ch 198, § 1; SL 2017, ch 171, § 50.

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