GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Friday would have been the 20th birthday of a woman killed last year; her family joined together to reflect and talk about the recent indictment in her case.
Tori Lang was found shot to death under a tree at a Gwinnett County park last year. Her parents and grandmother have been seeking justice ever since.
"It’s been pretty rough," said her mother, Teresa. "When we're at home alone, that's when it really sets in and it just is very painful."
The new indictment, confirmed on Wednesday, charges 20-year-old Austin Ford with felony murder, aggravated assault, voluntary manslaughter, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, two counts of theft by taking, and tampering with evidence, according to documents from the Gwinnett Police Department.
"It's comforting, you know, compared to a lot of situations where a lot of cases are cold for long periods of time," explained her father, Torrey. "Everyone down at the Gwinnett County Police Department, they're really treating us as though we're family. We really feel good about a victory that's going to occur.”
"The DA's office called us and told us that he got indicted on eight charges. Originally it was two, six additional charges were added," said Teresa.
Her grandmother, Tanya, believes Tori sent this indictment on the week of her birthday as a gift to her family.
"It's like when we buried her I felt like I was buried alive," she said. "It's been like that ever since the mornings I wake up and it's like, it's no air in the room. I can't breathe, I have to hurry up and go outside.”
Her family says the man charged in her death was a friend of hers but have no idea what led up to the shooting at Yellow River Park last year.
"Didn't he care for her as a friend? It's, it's hurtful. It's very hurtful," her mother added.
It's been one year of asking questions and seeking justice.
"I'm still in therapy. It helps a little. But not really because when I see pictures, I just I was broken. I was broken. I've been broken," Tanya said.
They believe that justice is closer now than before. On Tori's birthday, her parents drove with a cardboard cutout of her in the back seat, taking her sightseeing in Memphis.
"[She was like] a kiwi: something sweet. Good for the soul. Joyful all the time," her father added. "Openhearted, we just want her to be remembered as a great person."
Her parents are forming a foundation in tori’s honor and creating scholarships at the schools she attended to ensure her legacy stays alive.