The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has decided that there is no evidence of foul play in the mysterious death of Tamla Horsford.
Horsford, a wife and mother of five, was found dead in the backyard of a home where she was attending an adult sleepover, and the tight-lipped attendees sparked theories of a cover-up.
In November of 2018, Horsford was found dead the morning after a sleepover where only women were supposed to attend. Jeanne Meyer, the homeowner, had a boyfriend named Jose Barrera. He was not supposed to be in attendance at the party but claimed he did not feel well and stayed there. Despite his health, he and another male friend stayed in the basement and watched a football game. Barrera was a Pretrial Release Service Officer.
Meyer and Barrera went to bed around 1:30 a.m. One other attendee’s husband picked her up at around 1:45 a.m. She was the last one to see Horsford alive. The home security system’s last log was of the door opening at 1:57 p.m. but not closing.
There were several problems with the initial investigation of the case that caused the public to suggest a cover-up.
Although officers said they believed she fell over the balcony of the room she was staying in, Meyer said that nothing in her son’s room, where Horsford was to sleep, was disturbed. Further, Horsford’s injuries were not consistent with the 18-foot fall police claimed she made. She not only suffered from blunt force trauma but her wrists were dislocated and cut. Horsford also had lacerations to her heart muscle. Lastly, she would have fallen past other windows in rooms in the house. Someone in the home would have heard her fall.
Jose Barrera, the officer, was the one who placed the call to 911. During the call, he told the operator that Horsford was “stiff” and that she must have fallen off the second-story balcony. He also told the dispatcher that security cameras should show how she fell.
The man also admitted to officers that he had moved Horsford’s body to check for signs of life and moved an unlit cigarette and lighter on the deck before allegedly seeing the body.
Barrera was fired from his position for illegally accessing information related to the deceased woman’s case and leaking it to other party attendees. The complainant who initially sounded the alarm on Barrera was Horsford’s best friend, Michelle Wynne Graves.
In February 2019, the Forsyth County medical examiner ruled Tamla Horsford’s death an accident with aggravating factors being THC in her system and a blood-alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit. This ruling was made without them having performed a sexual assault kit or taken any fingerprints at the scene.
Due to public outcry, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was tasked with re-opening the case, examining the evidence, and coming to a conclusion.
On Monday, Nelly Miles, a representative from the GBI, announced that they performed a thorough investigation of the evidence and turned it over to the Forsyth County District Attorney, who had decided that no charges will be pressed. They believe it was a “tragic accident.”
The optics of a Black woman dying at an otherwise white adult sleepover was bad in enough. The virtual silence from the attendees, Barrera’s misconduct, poor investigating by the authorities laid the groundwork for allegations of a cover-up, and rightfully so.
Tamla Horsford is survived by her husband Leander and five children.