Q In the event a county is unable to locate a deceased personís friends or family, how should the county dispose of any personal property found on an unclaimed body in the custody of the county?

A The Mississippi Code is silent on disposal of personal property found on an unclaimed body. Consequently, it is the opinion of the Attorney Generalís Office that a county should utilize Section 19-3-85 as a guide in the absence of express statutory authority if the county is compelled to dispose of the personal property of an unclaimed body. Section 19-3-85, which is more frequently seen in relation to lost, misplaced, or abandoned property, provides that the supervisors of the county must post in three (3) public places notice that the property has been received or recovered. The notice must contain a detailed description of the property, and if the board is made aware of the owner, the notice should be mailed to the owner. The rightful owner of the lost, misplaced, or abandoned property may recover the property by filing a claim and establishing his right to the property. If no one claims the property within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date the notice is given, the board shall sell the property at a public auction. Notice of the auction must also be posted in three public places at least ten days prior to the sale. Lost, abandoned, or stolen motor vehicles and bicycles are subject to a different set of standards under the same statute. Lost, abandoned,or stolen motor vehicles and bicycles may be sold via public auction ninety (90) days after their receipt or recovery by law enforcement officers. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Grant-Gulledge, March 11, 2016)