Tamla Horsford, 40, died Nov. 4, 2018, after allegedly falling 18 feet off the balcony of a Forsyth County home where she and seven other women had gathered for an overnight party. Horsford’s body was discovered the next day in the backyard area of the residence, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities responded to a 911 call of an unresponsive person at the home early that morning, where they found Horsford, who lived in Cumming, Ga. Her Best friend, Michelle Wynn Graves, said she simply wants to know what happened that night and believes something went awry.
“I miss her very much,” Graves told local station WSB-TV this week. “The original story we got was that, you knowOn Friday, attorney Eric Tatum, who’s representing the homeowner in question, released a statement rebutting what he called “wrongful accusations” made in the case. Tatum stated his client has been fully cooperative with police, as well as Horsford’s family and friends, in regard to providing details about her tragic death.
The investigation remains open, he said, and “every aspect of [my] client’s life” has been looked over. That hasn’t stopped the death threats, however, she drank too much and it was alcohol poisoning and she passed away.”
“The threats need to stop,” Tatum wrote. “This tragic accident is exactly that, an accident. It’s unfortunate, sad and extremely heartbreaking to [my client’s] family and friends. However, certain very vocal friends and family members of Mrs. Horsford’s have been describing this accident as a ‘murder.’ Nothing could be farther from the truth.”
According to online reports, at least three men were also in attendance at the party. One of them was Jose Barrera, the homeowner’s boyfriend, who dialed 911 after finding Horsford’s body in the backyard.
“She’s laying in the yard, basically on the patio downstairs,” Barrera says in 911 audio obtained by WSB-TV. “She’s not moving one bit. She’s not breathing.” Barrera also makes mention of a small cut on her right wrist, stating, “I don’t know if this cut was self-inflicted.”
“I’m guessing, maybe she may have fallen off the balcony,” a woman tells the dispatcher.
In December, the Forsyth County Court system fired Barrera from his job as a probation officer for allegedly using his position to access confidential files related to Horsford’s death investigation. A police report filed by Horsford’s friend Michelle Graves accuses Barrera of accessing her personal information and providing it to other individuals who attended the party, the Forsyth County News reported.
Barrera has denied the allegations, saying he had no reason to illegally access the data when such information is already publicly available online and in court and sheriff’s office documents.
“For her to believe that her information was leaked by me is grossly incorrect and I will believe that until the day I die,” he told the newspaper. “Anybody can be found.”
Graves isn’t buying it, however, and said she doesn’t believe her friend fell to her death. According to the death certificate, however, the coroner seems to have taken Barrera’s word for it, listing Horsford’s death as an “accidental” fall from a deck that resulted in “multiple blunt force injuries.”
The coroner also noted “acute ethanol intoxication” or alcohol poisoning as a significant factor contributing in Horsford’s death. The drug Xanax was allegedly also found in her bloodstream.
News of Horsford’s mysterious death has been widely circulated across social media, sparking demands for justice in the case.
“I do believe her life was taken from her,” Graves said. “We’re glad we’re not the only ones who feel that something is definitely awry.”
Loved ones of a Georgia mother of five have called for further investigation into the beloved woman’s death after she suffered what was determined to be a fatal fall from a balcony during an adult sleepover, according to reports.
Tamla Horsford, 40, was found Nov. 4 face down and unresponsive in the backyard of the home of friend who was throwing an overnight party, authorities said.
The hostess’s boyfriend, Jose Barrera, reportedly discovered Horsford’s body and called 911.
“She’s lying in the yard, basically on the patio downstairs … She’s not moving one bit,” Barrera could be heard saying in a 911 call obtained by WSB-TV. “She’s not breathing. I’m noticing a small cut on her right wrist. She’s not breathing whatsoever. I don’t know if this cut was self-inflicted.”
Horsford’s death was ruled an accident by the coroner, who wrote that a fall from a deck caused multiple blunt-force injuries. “Acute ethanol intoxication” was also listed in the report as a contributing factor to Horsford’s death.
But those who knew Horsford well have said they had difficulty believing the coroner’s findings and noted another medical examiner, who was hired by Horsford’s family, found extensive injuries all over her body.
“It’s impossible to get the injuries that she had from one fall,” Michelle Graves, who said Horsford was her best friend, told WSB-TV.
She told the station she and Horsford’s other loved ones “feel there’s something awry with the story and with how she lost her life.”
Details surrounding Horsford’s death became public knowledge last week when Barrera, the partygoer who found Horsford who also worked as a Forsyth County court officer, allegedly accessed documents related to the case. Barrera was reportedly fired based on a court administrator’s “loss of confidence” in his ability to perform his duties as a pre-trial services officer. Barrera previously denied to the Forsyth County News leaking any information and stated that he was never given any clear answer for why he was terminated.
“What he did may not rise to a criminal level, but we’re outraged as a sheriff’s office about it,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Joe Perkins told the Forsyth County News. “Mr. Barrera had the access to this information because of the job he did at pre-trial services. They need that to do their job. … But when they overstep that boundary, when they start looking into things that have nothing to do with their job, we take that very seriously.”
Many on social media have echoed Horsford’s family’s calls for further investigation into her death, using the hashtags #JusticeForTamlaHorsford and #TamlaHorsford to call attention to the case.
“Her family seeks answers and they want to know what happened to her that night,” her friend wrote on a GoFundMe page created in Horsford’s honor. “Please join us and support us in our fight to seek justice for Tamla.”
WSB-TV said the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office told the station it would this week release the results of toxicology reports.
An attorney representing the hostess of the party where Horsford died released a statement to WSB-TV saying his client as well as all present that night “has completely cooperated with law enforcement officers in attempting to give the family and friends answers with regards to the tragic death of Tamla Horsford.”
“Every aspect of our client’s life has been investigated. She has provided answers to every question asked by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office,” the statement said. “At this time, each of the partygoers and their families have received death threats on various social media postings. The threats need to stop.
“This tragic accident is exactly that, an accident. It is unfortunate, sad, and unbelievably heartbreaking to her family and friends,” the statement continued. “However, certain very vocal friends and family members of Mrs. Horsford have been describing this accident as ‘murder.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.
“We are asking for the community and media to please respect the privacy and safety of our client and others who were at the party.”