letters | a body in limbo

State law has provisions for what do with an unclaimed body

Amid all of the brouhaha about the burial arrangements for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the obvious solution appears to have been overlooked. Apparently, while Tsarnaev’s family is full of ideas about where his remains should be buried, no family member has come forward to actually claim those remains and take responsibility for their burial. The laws of the Commonwealth contain provisions for circumstances when a body is unidentified or unclaimed: The medical examiner releases it to the Department of Transitional Assistance, which arranges for a decent final disposition.

At this point, the Commonwealth should inform the Tsarnaev family that if it does not come forward to claim the body, the Commonwealth will dispose of it in accordance with the law.

Phyllis Schacht


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