Matthew McEachen ought to have had most of his life forward of him when he died on February 22, 2011.
The 25-year-old was a gifted artist and designer, placing his expertise to good use on the Southern Ink tattoo store on Colombo St.
However when the earthquake struck, Bruce, Jeanette and Sarah McEachen misplaced their much-loved son and older brother.
“When the police have been at our door one night time, and I noticed them there, I mentioned to Bruce, ‘do not allow them to in. I do not need to be advised this’,” Matthew’s mom Jeanette mentioned.
She and her husband Bruce strongly believed their son Matti would come residence on February 22, 2011.
He was at work at Southern Ink tattoo studio on Colombo St. When the constructing crumbled, Matti, who’d simply turned 25, by no means made it out.
“All of us simply saved leaving messages for Matthew. I keep in mind one message I left, I mentioned: ‘I do know you have received no cash in your telephone Matti, simply get somebody shut by and tell us that you just’re okay’,” Jeanette remembers.
“We simply waited for him to return, we actually thought he would come residence.”
Ultimately, there was a knock on the door – Matthew’s boss’s spouse. The information wasn’t good, however the McEachens merely couldn’t course of the lack of their son.
“I do not suppose we actually believed it till the police got here knocking on our door two weeks later and mentioned that Matthew had been recognized.
“Proper as much as that second, we thought that he had run and that he would come residence, that they’d discover him.”
Bruce and Jeanette have been at each day by day police briefing, hoping for a miracle. It by no means got here.
As soon as Matti was formally recognized the household had simply a few days to organise to say goodbye.
“It was a nightmare. We nonetheless needed to take care of the sufferer identification police, which was an entire day, after which go round to Matthew’s flat that he’d simply moved into, and we have been advised we wanted to empty it out. It was terrible.”
Bruce has turn out to be a number one voice in Christchurch representing the households who misplaced sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, moms and dads on 22 February, 2011.
He is been significantly concerned within the earthquake memorial on the Avon river in downtown Christchurch.
Jeanette mentioned that challenge has had an additional emotional toll.
“Bruce got here residence emotionally drained day-after-day he was a part of that.”
Including to the household’s ache has been the dearth of justice since Matthew’s loss of life. It is a sentiment shared by most of the households who misplaced family members within the quake.
Harcourts business property supervisor Christopher Chapman was charged in 2015 with misconduct by the Actual Property Brokers Authority for failing to inform Southern Ink’s proprietor the Colombo St constructing was unsafe to occupy.
A choice launched in 2018 discovered Chapman’s conduct substandard, however not disgraceful. A month later, the McEachens and household mates protested exterior the true property agency’s Moorhouse Ave workplace. They have been asking for one thing easy – an apology.
“Each different pure catastrophe you might have the federal government of the day appears to be hell-bent to get individuals to courtroom to get that accountability,” Bruce mentioned.
“We have no accountability. I feel that is going to be a legacy of this explicit catastrophe.”