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.”