La. changes law surrounding cremations of those who die under ’suspicious circumstances’

La. changes law surrounding cremations of those who die under ’suspicious circumstances’
(Source: Chatham County Police Department)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that modifies the circumstances under which coroners in the state can issue cremation permits.

Previous law prevented coroners from issuing cremation permits in cases where the person may have died under “suspicious circumstances.”

Lafayette news organization KATC alleged that, despite those rules, nearly 900 homicide victims were cremated between 2013 and 2018.

KATC reported that following its allegation, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark, who also serves as president of the Louisiana State Coroner’s Association, lobbied for legislation to clarify seemingly vague language in the law.

State senator Franklin Foil proposed the new law which says coroners can issue cremation permits, even in cases where a person dies under “suspicious circumstances" only after they complete an investigation.

Critics have argued the law could lead to the destruction of evidence critical to an investigation and delay justice for loved ones.

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