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Dotti Owens, Ada County Coroner
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Unclaimed / Abandoned Process

In cases where no one assumes responsibility of a decedent because a decedent is unidentified or unclaimed, Idaho Code states the Coroner will ensure the decedent is decently interred or cremated. Unclaimed decedents are persons who, after a thorough investigation by the Ada County Coroner’s Office, have no located family or no authorized person, such as an executor or durable power of attorney, who can make estate decisions and funeral or cremation arrangements for the decedent. The Ada County Coroner’s Office secures the real or personal property of these decedents pursuant to Idaho Code.

In Ada County, once a decedent is determined to be unclaimed, the Coroner will submit the case for review by Public Administration at the Ada County Treasurer’s Office. At that time, the Coroner advises the Treasurer’s Office of any known real or personal property associated with the decedent. If the Treasurer accepts the case for Public Administration, the property is turned over to the Public Administrator and eventually liquidated. Money obtained from the sale of the property is applied to the expenses of the estate, including cremation costs, as required by Idaho Code.

At the close of the Public Administration review, the Coroner will forward information to the Indigent Services Office requesting cremation costs be paid for the decedent. Indigent Services will process the request and the Board of Ada County Commissioners will enter an Order for Reimbursement from the decedent’s estate. The decedent is then cremated and his or her remains are returned to the Ada County Coroner’s Office.

The Coroner’s Office holds the cremated remains for one year in the hope family or a person with authority can be located. At the close of that year, the cremated remains are scheduled for placement in the donated crypt from Cloverdale Funeral Home. This placement occurs annually, usually in May, and a “Memorial for the Forgotten” ceremony is organized and held by the Coroner’s Office. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Throughout this time, the Ada County Coroner’s Office continues to search for family or an authorized person. If family or an authorized person are located or contact the office, the Coroner’s Office works with them to confirm the relationship and to arrange, if possible, for the decedent’s remains to be transferred. There may be costs associated with the transfer and those are disclosed and discussed with the claimant.