‘Accountable’: Matthew Eyster’s mother reacts to guilty verdict

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A mother’s quest for justice is over. The woman who sold her son drugs that led to his fatal overdose pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Wednesday.

Cindy Patane lost her son Matthew Eyster in April 2016 to a drug overdose.

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Since then all she has wanted was the woman who sold him the pill that killed him to be held accountable.

“I’m glad that Matthew’s death wasn’t in vain and that there is a purpose behind his death,” Patane said.

It’s a purpose she hopes other drug dealers will notice after this case.



“That’s my whole purpose, nothing is going to bring my Matthew back so going in and fight just you know to hold her accountable for no reason at all is not my purpose my purpose is to make a statement so other dealers realize its time society understand addicts are people too,” Patane said.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Smith says convicting Melinda Chaulk is the first step in doing that.

“A lot of people look at addiction as the addict is responsible for everything he does and we don’t hold necessarily the drug dealers accountable for the deaths of the addict and we’re starting to see that we need to,” Smith said.

Chaulk received 2 sentences for involuntary manslaughter. She will serve at least a year and a half in prison for the drug charge and will serve at least 14 months.

“I’m okay with it because to me it was never really been about what the exact charge was or how much time she spent in jail to me, it’s been about accountability for her actions,” Patane said.

When Patane read her letter to Chaulk in court she says it took a lot of strength, but she wanted Chaulk to know the Matthew she loved.

“I wanted her to know who Matt really was as a person and that he was more than just an addict that she made 17 dollars off of,” Patane said.

Patane says what has happened to Matthew is making a difference for others now.