The case of

Tamla Horsford

Victim

Tamla Horsford

Victim Race

African-American

Victim Date of Birth

1978-10-10

Victim Age

40

Date Reported

2018-11-04

Date of Death

2018-11-04

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

4450 Woodlet Court, Cumings, Forsyth County, Gerogia

Body Location

4450 Woodlet Court, Cumings, Gerogia

Date of Conviction

None

Body Discovered Date

2018-11-04

Murderer

Tamla Horsford

Tamla Horsford was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on October 10, 1978, where she lived until her family moved to the Bronx in 1989. She was married to Leander Horsford and they had 5 kids together. Leander had a 24 year old daughter from a previous relationship. She and Tamla got along great. For a few years the African american family lived in Florida but later moved to the Forsyth County area in Georgia.

Tam or Tammy as people knew her was described as a beautiful mother, a super mom, always taking care of her kids and being as present as she could be in their lives. In general, she was described as a kind soul, always joyful, always willing to take care and protect the weak.

One of Tamla Horsford’s kids was into soccer and she always supported him in every game. It’s there where she met Jeanne Meyers, another football mom. They became friends. Tamla was very happy she was finally starting to have friends in her new town. Jeanne’s 45 birthday celebration was on November 3, and she invited Tamla. It was going to be something like an adult slumber party. Tamla was excited to have a night for herself.

On November 3, before going to the party, Tamla spent part of the evening making dinner and a breakfast casserole for her husband and boys, since she was planning on spending the night out the house.

Tamla Horsford is found dead

On November 3, 2018 at 8:30pm, Tamla arrived to Jeanne’s house with a bottle of Tequila to celebrate her 45 year old birthday and changed into her pyjamas. The party was supposed to be only for women but there were a couple of men: Jose Barrera, Jean’s boyfriend and Tom, Stacey’s husband. They were watching TV in the basement while the party developed in the main floor of the house. The attendees were of course Jeanne and her boyfriend Jose, Bridget, Madeleine, Marcy, Paula, Nicole, Stacy and her husband Tom, and Tamla. She was the only person of colour in the party.

According to the party goers, Tamla was having a lot of fun at the party, even when she didn’t really know Jane’s friends very well they were getting along. She was called “the life of the party”. Everyone drank, ate and played table games.

Around 1:00am in the morning, after the group played ¨Cards against humanity¨, it was time to go call it a night. One by one the women started going to bed, except for Bridget Fuller whose husband picked up at 1:47am. On her way out, Tamla told her she was going to smoke a cigarette on the second floor balcony and then call it a night.

At 4:10, Marcy Hardin left.

At 7:45 Paula Seals left.

At 8:30 Tom and Stacy Smith left.

When Madeleine got up at 8:45am and went to the kitchen to make herself some coffee, she noticed a body lying face down in the garden. She realized it was Tamla but instead of calling 911, she goes up to Jeanne and Jose’s room and says ¨there appear to be something wrong with your friend from the islands¨. The three of them went outside to take a look and realized Tamla seemed dead.

At 8:51am, Jeanne Mayers calls 911. She tells the dispatcher they had people over the past night, they were drinking and they all went to bed but one who stayed on the balcony. That person who had been drinking was now face down on the backyard. After that, she passes the phone to Jose who in a very calm, almost without emotions, voice says that Tamla is not moving, not breathing, she’s stiff. She’s dead. Then he mutes the call as if he didn’t want the dispatcher to hear what they were saying.

Suspect or Convicted Killer Details

There are no suspects related to Tamla Horsford case.

Investigation Details

At 9:07 of November 4, police arrived to Jane’s house. They found Tamla Horsford’s body lying on the backyard face down. When going inside the house they found a pink bag with Tamla’s belongings. Inside it they found a little baggie of marijuana.

It was time to conduct police interviews to everybody who attended the party about that night and Tamla’s behaviour. When together, everybody said that Tamla Horsford was the only one drinking from the bottle of tequila she had brought, nobody else liked the flavor or smell so they passed. They saw her drink almost all the bottle on her own. The witnesses also said Tamla kept smoking cigarretes and some weed during the night.

Police interviews were also conducted to some neighbors and friends of Tamla but nothing helpful came out of that since Tamla had attended the party alone.

Jeanne had a home security system that registered everytime the home doors were opened or closed. Said alerts helped police verify the time people left Jeanne’s house. Everything matched, the only weird thing was that at 1:57am the backdoor opens and just stays like that for hours.

When running an autopsy, it was established that Tamla’s time of death was around 1:30am. Her body presented multiple blunt force injuries, an alcohol level of 0.238, together with THC and Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug. There were no photos taken for this autopsy. These results had police officers consider Tamla was probably so drunk and high on meds that she just fell from the balcony porch and that probably the injuries were caused by the 14ft fall. Later Tamla’s death was ruled an accident by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office department.

Tamla Horsford’s family disagreed with the autopsy results and the testimony of the people in the party. It just didn’t make any sense to them. Tamla had never in her life been a sloppy drunk. Why would she start at an adult slumber party with people she hardly knew? They called for a second independent autopsy; which was carried out by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

According to that report the GBI’s medical examiner wrote in their February 2019 autopsy report, Tamla Horsford’s body presented severe injuries. Her right wrist was dislocated and scraped up. Her left shin was bruised, while her right shin was lacerated, and she had tiny abrasions on two of her fingers. There was a fracture on one of Horsford’s cervical vertebrates (upper spine), but it was not severe enough to have damaged her brain stem. She had small scrapes on her forehead, nose, and left eyelid.

After the second autopsy was released, there have been further comments about how some wounds on Tamla Horsford’s body seem to be post-mortem. But even having information that points to a possible homicide, the county police didn’t make any efforts of actually finding a suspect. General public believes the lacks of effort are due to Tamla being a black woman and Forsyth County being such a racist town. Would have the investigation been the same if the one dying at the overnight birthday party was one of the white women?

Another fact that raised an alarm for everybody was learning that Jose Barrera, Jeanne’s Meyers boyfriend and an party attendee, was fired from his job as a Forsyth County court officer, after accesing or leaking personal information in regards to Tamla Horsford’s death investigation.

After the case was officially closed on February 20, 2019, and the death of the 40-year-old mother ruled as an accidental death, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, 50 Cent, and T.I. questioned the integrity of the investigation. A huge campaign on Change.org was thrown and it recollected over 700,000 signatures asking the FBI to get involved in the re-investigation of the case.

On June 5, 2020, Ralph E. Fernandez, the Horsford family attorney, wrote a letter to Leander Horsford, claiming that his team’s investigation into the details of the case strongly suggested homicide. It said, in part: “Witness statements are in conflict. A potential subject handled the body as well as the evidence prior to law enforcement arriving. Evidence was disposed of and no inquiry followed. The scene was not preserved. He also stated that Horsford’s injuries were “consistent” with those of a physical struggle, but that the absence of photos from the initial autopsy prevented a definite conclusion.

The case was reopened on June 18, 2020 and closed again on July 28, 2021. The GBI decided, after concluding with their re-investigation, to not persue criminal charges and keep Tamla Horsford’s death ruled as an accident.

As for what really happened to Tamla Horsford in that adult-sleepover party we may never know.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Forsyth County known as a ¨racist¨ town? 

Located about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta, Forsyth County is a primarily white suburban region in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. In 1912, the county forced out all of its black residents. Today, only 4 percent of the county’s population is Black, according to U.S census data. 

Has the Black Lives Matter been involved in Tamla Horsford’s case?

The Black Lives Matter movement reignited interest in the story on social media, catching the eye of celebrities including T.I., 50 Cent, Gabrielle Union, and Kim Kardashian. This is what got the case eventually reopened on June, 2020.

 

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