GBI unveils expanded morgue facility

- The state's top law enforcement agency now has new technology and more space for autopsies.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation unveiled its new, expanded morgue facility Tuesday.

"If it's your loved one who needs to be brought here, you want them examined as quickly as possible, in the best manner possible and to get the answers correct," said GBI Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat.

The GBI is responsible for performing autopsies for all but six of Georgia's 159 counties.  The expanded facility has room for 100 cases at a time, while the previous space only had the capacity for 25.  

"We had times where we would tell the coroners and the body transport companies do not bring the bodies to our morgue because we had no space," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.  

GBI officials said the state's population growth, the opioid epidemic and the threat of mass casualty incidents necessitated the expansion project.

"As we've all recently seen--Las Vegas, yesterday New York City--mass fatality event is an unfortunate event of today's society.  The examination of those decedents that die at the hands of a mass fatality event, fall under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner," said Dr. Eisenstat.

Construction on the project took a little less than 18 months at a price tag of nearly $6.7 million.

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