Augusta commissioners told members of the cities legislative delegation that there are problems at the State crime lab when it comes to getting toxicology reports back in a timely manner, all reports go to Atlanta since Augusta’s Crime lab has been shut down.
“Sometimes it can be six to eight months before a family gets a toxicology report back and with that being said that holds them up from getting a death certificate from them filing they’re necessary insurance and that could put a family in dire straits, says Commissioner Ben Hasan.
Coroner Mark Bowen is requesting to bypass the state crime lab for toxicology reports in favor of NMS Labs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that would end waiting weeks or months for results.
“That turnaround time could be seven to 10 days,” says Hasan.
But having the corner work with an out of state lab would need approval of Georgia’s Chief Medical examiner, one reason commissioners and area state lawmakers were meeting.
“Our meeting with the legislative delegation today is certainly a call to action in regards to them putting a letter of support for that they’ll certainly get one from the Mayor’s office to do this as well,” says Mayor Hardie Davis.
But using an out of state lab would increase the Coroner’s budget by $30 to $50 thousand dollars,
“If it’s necessary for us to fund it we need to find the funding to do it,” said Commissioner Bill Lockett.
“How about going out of state Pennsylvania?”
“You would think we should have somebody that’s qualified to do this within the state but if we don’t than I think we need to do what is necessary,” said Lockett.
Coroner Mark Bowen says the Philadelphia lab was selected because the State of Georgia has used it as well as the South Carolina Crime lab in Newberry, how long can the delay be for toxicology results Bowen says he just gone some back this week from a case in June, almost six months six months ago.