Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

June 16, 2014

Lack of kin delays Va. vet’s burial for months

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A Monday service is scheduled for a U.S. Navy veteran whose body lay in a hospital morgue for six months.

The Daily Progress reports that Luther Payne had no immediate kin to claim his body after he died on Dec. 2, 2013 at Martha Jefferson Hospital. A lack of service records prevented his burial in a national cemetery.

State law didn’t allow individuals other than family to bury the 95-year-old’s body. A law approved by the General Assembly in March allows individuals to provide for the burial of unclaimed human remains.

The law also allows law enforcement to search for next of kin. After it became effective, police found Payne’s granddaughter.

A church donated a plot in its cemetery for Payne’s burial and a funeral home donated the casket.


Information from: The Daily Progress,


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