GBI hosts medical examiners on exchange from Republic of Georgia

They traveled halfway around the world to learn all they can from the people who investigate some of Georgia's biggest crimes.

This week a small group of scientists from the National Forensics Bureau in the Republic of Georgia are shadowing employees at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's headquarters in DeKalb County.

"The exchange really is for quality assurance of their laboratory so they can become accredited, to answer any questions they may have about how their laboratory works and for an exchange of ideas," said Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat, the GBI's Chief Medical Examiner.

The GBI has hosted Georgians on exchange since 2010.  The country even modeled their medical examiner's lab after the one at GBI headquarters.  This is the first time, however, that representatives from Georgia have seen the new, expanded morgue facility.

"Our department in Georgia was set up with the support of the U.S. Embassy and was also equipped with their support, however, we have seen some new developments here that we will try to implement in our country as well," medical examiner Ketevan Bedenashuili said through a translator.

Despite their distance, they said the two agencies deal with similar case trends including child and infant deaths, and drug overdoses.

"Although we are working and living in different continents, our finding is that we have the same problems and same concerns," said Maia Gogitauri, who serves as the head of the histology department for the National Forensics Bureau. "We hope that with joined efforts we will be able to address all of them."