Local family pushes for change amid GBI backlog

Published: Oct. 30, 2023 at 5:12 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Backlogs at crime labs and a shortage of medical examiners are problems we’ve uncovered and exposed for a long time period.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s forensic team is slotted for 18 positions, but there are eight vacancies as of September.

Families across the state are dealing with the pain of sending a loved one off and not knowing how long it will take for them to return.

Eva Mathew’s family is going through this right now. She died on Oct. 6 and her parents still do not know a cause of death.

“You wonder did I do something wrong, did I miss something, was there something I could have done differently,” said Alexis Mathews, Eva’s mom. “You will always wonder those things.”

The Mathews family will always wonder what happened to their vibrant, full-of-life 16-year-old daughter.

Eva’s parents both say there was nothing she couldn’t do.

“She wanted to be a screenplay writer,” said Ryan Mathews, Eva’s dad.

Alexis said: “We know autopsy results are backed up but now you add on this other layer of families that don’t know when their loved one is coming home.”

Eva’s body was with the GBI for a week.

“We feel like we kind of got robbed of some last moments to let, not just us, but her friends and other family be able to say goodbye to her and have that last moment with her,” said Ryan.

With Eva on their mind, her parents decided to take action.

“We want to try to help other families that are dealing with the same situation,” said Ryan. “We want to start advocating for them so that maybe we can get some changes made.”

Eva’s parents both say she was meant to make an impact on the world.

“Eva was one to stand up for people to make sure people were seen and heard,” said Alexis. “And I know that was her saying, ‘Mom I need you to just try. Just have my voice heard. Just for others not just for me but for others.’”

That’s how Eva lived her life and that’s how they want her name to live on after her death.