No dead human body shall be cremated without permission of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as required by § 32.1-309.3 and visual identification of the deceased by the next-of-kin or his representative, who may be any person designated to make arrangements for the disposition of the decedent’s remains pursuant to § 54.1-2825, an agent named in an advance directive pursuant to § 54.1-2984, or any guardian appointed pursuant to Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) of Title 64.2 who may exercise the powers conferred in the order of appointment or by § 64.2-2019, or, in cases in which the next of kin or his representative fails or refuses to provide visual identification of the deceased, by any other person 18 years of age or older who is able to provide positive identification of the deceased. If no such next of kin or his representative or other person 18 years of age or older is available or willing to make visual identification of the deceased, such identification shall be made by a member of the primary law-enforcement agency of the city or county in which the person or institution having initial custody of the body is located, pursuant to court order. When visual identification is not feasible, other positive identification of the deceased may be used as a prerequisite for cremation. Unless such act, decision, or omission resulted from bad faith or malicious intent, the funeral service establishment, funeral service licensee, crematory, cemetery, primary law-enforcement officer, sheriff, county, or city shall be immune from civil liability for any act, decision, or omission resulting from cremation. Nothing in this section shall prevent a law-enforcement agency other than the primary law-enforcement agency from performing the duties established by this section if so requested by the primary law-enforcement agency and agreed to by the other law-enforcement agency.
1998, c. 867; 2010, c. 377; 2011, c. 88; 2014, cc. 228, 355, 583; 2015, c. 670.