Georgia wife and mother Tamla Horsford went to an adult sleepover party in Georgia’s notoriously racist Forsyth County on Nov 3, 2018. She never made it home. That is perhaps the only thing that anyone can definitively agree on in what has become a mystery gaining traction on social media.
Horsford, 40, a married mother of five, was found dead the next morning. Other attendees – all white – say that she died after a fall from the home’s deck while intoxicated. The final report, released by the Forsyth County sheriff’s office, concludes that Horsford’s injuries are consistent with a fall. But others are wondering how Horsford went unnoticed until 9 a.m. the next day and if the severity of her injuries indicates anything else may have happened.
To further add to the mystery, the boyfriend of the homeowner, Jose Barrera, who also is heard on the 911 call, who worked in the Forsyth County courts, accessed files from the incident report and for Horsford’s friend, Michelle Graves, who was asking for further investigation of the matter. Graves says he accessed information on her and her family. He was ultimately fired.
Photos from the party released in the investigation report show a smiling Horsford in pajamas seemingly having a good time with several female and male guests. In total, nine guests were at the party, not including Horsford, the homeowner, Jeanne Myers and her boyfriend, Barrera.
Party attendees say Horsford showed up with a bottle of tequila and proceeded to drink through the night, though they also say she didn’t seem intoxicated. According to the toxicology report, Horsford’s blood alcohol was 0.23, and she had both Xanax and THC in her system. The police report indicates that she had both rolling papers and marijuana in the bag she brought to the house.
According to a blood alcohol chart used by Georgia’ law enforcement, Horsford’s blood alcohol level, if she was in the area of 120 pounds, is considered legally drunk for a woman and is approximate to about 6 drinks. Barrera told police Horsford was very social and ended up being the last person awake. When the group last saw her, she said she was heading to the deck to smoke. The next morning, Myers’ aunt found her face down in the backyard.
Although the only visible injuries police saw at first were a broken wrist, and cuts on her shins, the final autopsy report indicated blunt force injuries including a broken neck, a subdural hematoma and a torn heart muscle. Although those injuries, according to the police report, are inconsistent with a ground level fall, they are consistent with a fall off the deck, which was approximately 16 feet from the ground.
The Forsyth County sheriff’s office has released the investigative report and declared the Horsford case closed. But her family has retained a lawyer and wants answers. Some social media users have suggested that a high blood alcohol content can help people withstand serious injury, which turns out to be true.
“I want the truth of what’s going on, because I mean, the stories I’ve heard so far, none of them make sense,” Horsford’s husband, Leander Horsford told the Forsyth County News. “And if they don’t make sense, usually there’s a reason they don’t make sense.”
A statement issued by the homeowner’s attorneys several days ago, who is also representing the guests at the party, reads:
It has been 109 days since the tragic death of Tamla Horsford. 109 days of the family and friends of Tamla Horsford being in limbo as to answers regarding her tragic death. 109 days of not being able to properly grieve their loved one. 109 days filled with misinformation, false information, and in some cases, a blatant disregard for the truth. 109 days during which each of the partygoers has been holding their respective breaths awaiting the next Facebook post, Twitter post, or Instagram story with their names, pictures, or other information about them.
109 days of waiting for the certain result that was to come yesterday in the press conference by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department. 109 days of our clients being unable to properly grieve the death of their friend, because of what certain very vocal individuals called a “murder” from the start. As stated previously, each person who was present on November 4, 2018, has cooperated completely with law enforcement officers in an attempt to give family and friends answers in regard to the tragic death of Tamla Horsford. That statement was corroborated by officials yesterday.
“The Sheriff’s Office here in Forsyth County conducted a thorough investigation into the death. They followed the appropriate protocols, interviewing each of the partygoers multiple times, canvassing the neighborhood for additional information, and obtaining every piece of tangible evidence that was possible to obtain. The homeowner immediately provided an electronic log of door entries and exits to the police. They provided the bottle of tequila Mrs. Horsford brought to the party. At no point in time did any of them tamper with, obstruct, or lie to law enforcement regarding the circumstances surrounding her death.
“Three separate government entities had their hands on this investigation. Forsyth County major crimes unit, the Forsyth County Coroner’s Office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations each had a part to play in this investigation. As reported by the Sheriff yesterday in his press conference, each of these three independent bodies found absolutely and unequivocally that there was no foul play and that there was no evidence of any assault. Our clients knew this to be fact because there was NEVER any wrongdoing by them that evening.
“Contrary to stories being put out there by a certain very vocal individual, this was not a racially motivated murder. This was not murder. This was not anything other than a tragic accident. Mrs. Horsford fell 18 feet from the top of the rail on the back deck to the ground.
“In specifically addressing the “concerns” with the case, the homeowner called 911 immediately upon finding Mrs. Horsford’s body. There was no time lapse, as reported by various blog posts and outlets.
“In relaying the time discrepancies on the coroner’s report and the door entries and exits, it is important to understand that November 4th was the night that daylight savings time ended. At 2:00 a.m., the time “falls back” to 1 a.m. and the hour repeats. Therefore, you had two hours at 1:00 a.m. back to back, which is the logical explanation for why she went out at 1:57 a.m. but died at 1:30 a.m. There were two 1:30 a.m.’s that morning. Specifically, regarding the injuries, the three independent law enforcement agencies verified that those injuries occurred as a direct result of the fall. There were no injuries inflicted upon Mrs. Horsford by anyone at that party. Regarding the Facebook post referenced regarding “no fall,” the original 911 call, before any deputies arrived, stated explicitly that the first thought was that it was a fall from the deck. Only after our client had spoken with law enforcement and heard what they thought did she post that there was no fall, as that was the original theory of law enforcement.
“In specifically addressing Mr. Barrera’s actions while employed as a pre-trial services officer, as stated in previous reports by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Berrera did look at the investigative report. He did not edit, print, or otherwise tamper with the report, otherwise he would have been charged with a crime. His curiosity got the better of him, and he succumbed to the temptation to look at the report. Forsyth County took their action in terminating him, and Mr. Barrera has accepted that action. That does not make him guilty of any crime, and certainly does not make him guilty of murder.
“As stated before, our clients are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. They have not had a chance to grieve the death of Mrs. Horsford either. Our clients were friends with Mrs. Horsford too. Their children played ball together, went to school together, and lived in community together. They went to church together. Mrs. Horsford and our clients were doing life together, mostly because they have children the same ages. This accident is heartbreaking, that a mother of 5 lost her life too early, and that her children have to grow up without a mother. It is impossible to fathom the pain felt by her husband and other members of her family. We pray that the community will gather around the Horsford family during this time of unfathomable heartbreak and support them as they move forward. We pray for healing in this community over this tragedy. We pray that we can walk forward, together, toward a future of reconciliation.”
PHOTOS: Forsyth County Sherriff’s Office, Horsford family via GoFundMe
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