The Mystery Behind the Death Of Tamla Horsford: Who Killed the Black Woman?

Tamla Horsford died in November 2018, while attending a party at a house in Georgia. She was a black mother of five. It might have been a complete accident. But due to a compromised investigation, we may never know.

Horsford, who was 40 years old, was found unresponsive in the backyard. According to the investigating team, she appeared to have fallen from the home’s deck, about 14 feet off the ground. After a few months, the investigators announced Tamla Horsford’s death had been ruled accidental.

But, the family members and friends are not satisfied with the investigation. They questioned whether Horsford could have died from the fall from the balcony. Eventually, the closed ones hired a private medical examiner who found extensive injuries, like abrasions and lacerations, all over the body. This added suspicion to the theory of death due to an accidental fall.

To this day, Horsford’s family members and loved ones are adamant that the story cannot be concluded here. Whereas, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office closed the investigation, finding no evidence of foul play.

Tamla Horsford, a black mother of five
Tamla Horsford, a black mother of five

Death of Tamla Horsford

Tamla Horsford arrived at the party at around 8:30 pm. The 40-year-old black mother had prepared dinner for her husband, Leander, and five kids before leaving for the house party. She went to celebrate the birthday of her friend Jeanne Meyers.

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Meyers had invited a group of moms, most of them who met through a local football league, to spend a night, not wanting anyone to drink and drive. Horsford reached the party with a bottle of tequila and an overnight bag. Who knew what was destined for her there?

Tamla Horsford with her husband, Leander Horsford
Tamla Horsford with her husband, Leander Horsford

What happened at the party?

The party held on the evening of November 3rd, 2018, was originally meant to be all ladies. But Meyers’ boyfriend, Jose Barrera, and Tom Smith, the husband of another attendee, ended up hanging around. Finally, the group included nine women, two men, and one husband who, according to police interviews, only dropped off and picked up his wife. Out of these 12, eight were planning to spend the night, along with Tamla Horsford.

Eventually, the group enjoyed the party with cards and games. The photographs and videos captured during the party show Tamla smiling, and happy. She had been drinking tequila, and would later be found to have a significant BAC, but according to photos, and witness accounts, she didn’t appear particularly drunk that evening.

According to police reports, Horsford remained awake after Barrera headed to bed around 1:30 am. The last person to see Tamla Horsford was Bridget Fuller, who was picked up by her husband at 1:47 am. In her statement, Fuller says that Horsford was eating a bowl of gumbo, and had said she planned to smoke a cigarette and head to bed.

Tamla Horsford at the party
Tamla Horsford was the only black woman at the party

Around 8:45 the next morning, Madeline Lombardi, Meyers’ aunt who lived at the house, headed into the kitchen to make her morning cup of coffee. From there she saw Horsford facedown lying in the grass of the backyard, not moving. Meyers and Barrera called Forsyth County 911 before 9 am and told the officials that their guest is not moving or breathing, and probably she fell off the balcony.

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Initial Investigation

An autopsy report determined that Horsford was dead at the scene. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that she broke her wrist and had head and torso trauma. She also had a broken vertebra and a laceration to her heart.

According to the sheriff’s office, blood testing determined Horsford was highly intoxicated. Also, she had marijuana and Xanax in her system, as per the toxicology reports. However, nobody saw Horsford fall during or after the party.

Renewed public interest

Further in 2020, nationwide protests against racism and police brutality reportedly renewed public interest in Tamla’s case. This happened because on June 5, 2020, Ralf E. Fernandez, the Horsford family attorney wrote a letter to Leander Horsford, Tamla’s husband, claiming that his team’s investigation into the details of her death 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 Tamla’s injuries were consistent with those of a physical struggle. The letter also stated that a potential subject handled the body and the evidence before the arrival of the law officials.

Under the pressure of public outcry and posts from celebrities like Kim Kardashian, and 50 Cent, the Forsyth County sheriff requested that the case be reopened on behalf of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Second investigation

On June 12, 2020, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman sent a letter requesting that the case be reopened and investigated by the GBI. Eventually, the case was reopened on June 18, 2020, but did not specify when the investigation would begin.

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Finally, in 2021, GBI authorities concluded that Tamla Horsford’s death was accidental and closed the case for a second time. No criminal charges were put on anyone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What was Tamla Horsford’s age at the time of death?

Ans. Tamla Horsford was 40 when she died.

2. What happened with Tamla Horsford?

Ans. An autopsy report determined that Horsford was dead at the scene. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that she broke her wrist and had head and torso trauma. She also had a broken vertebra and a laceration to her heart.

3. How many kids did Tamla Horsford have?

Ans. Horsford had five sons. She had one son with her ex-husband and four with her present husband, Leander Horsford.

4. What was Tamla Horsford’s race?

Ans. Tamla Horsford was a black mother of five kids.

Final words

After more than four years, Tamla’s family members long for justice as they are still unclear on the events that led to the demise of their loved one. They have said that they pray that anyone who may know more about what happened to Tamla should have the courage to speak up. Probably, this would finally give them peace and composure. Well, we also wish and pray the same!

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