FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Authorities have reopened an investigation into the mysterious death of a Black mother in North Georgia.
Police ruled Tamla Horsford’s death at an adult sleepover party in 2018 as accidental, but amid renewed discussions about race, politics, and equality under the law, the case has sparked a public outcry.
Horsford was a mother of five boys. Her sister, Summer St. Jour Jones, says she was “supermom.”
In November 2018, Horsford went to a friend’s sleepover birthday party. The next morning, the 40-year-old woman was found in her pajamas unresponsive in the backyard.
Until now, her family has not spoken out publicly. Their grief is still as raw as the night Horsford died.
“It’s unfortunate that it has to take other people’s heartbreak and other people’s loss for the proper attention to be given this case involving my sister,” Jones said.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office initially rules Horsford’s death an accident, concluding she fell from a second story balcony. The autopsy uncovered a blood alcohol level of .23, nearly three times the legal driving limit in Georgia. Traces of Xanax and marijuana were also found.
“Never, ever, ever have I seen my sister sloppy drunk and incoherent,” Jones said. “So I doubt that she would pick a sleepover with people she was just getting to know to start behaving that way.”
The attorney for Horsford’s family, Ralph Fernandez, says, despite repeated requests, police never provided any autopsy photos. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says he didn’t follow procedure.
He says that’s not true. He also has concerns with other details.
“The placement of the body, the multitude of injuries, what I would consider to be defensive injuries. The inexplicable post-mortem bleeding,” Fernandez said.
The sheriff’s office says it “conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation,” but Fernandez believes there’s a strong possibility Horsford’s death was a homicide.
“There were numerous inconsistencies in a series of statements,” Fernandez said. “The disposal of evidence, the relationships between the parties.”
Across the country, the case has sparked a huge petition, with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and 50 Cent also calling attention to the cause.
“I think people are just tired of seeing loved ones being taken so senselessly,” Fernandez said.
After the public outcry, Georgia authorities reopened the investigation at the request of the sheriff’s office, but the family is not satisfied.
“We need answers that make sense. None of this makes sense. None of it,” Jones said.