Tamla Horsford Spent the Evening with Friends and Mysteriously Ended Up Dead the Next Morning. But Are Her Injuries Inline with an Accidental Fall?
Often called “super mom” by those who knew her, Tamla Horsford was the mom who was always present at her kids' games, cheering them on with signs and a megaphone.
On November 3rd, 2018, Tamla was invited to a “grown-up sleepover” by her friend, Jeanne Meyers, whose son was on the same football team as Tamla's. It was Jeanne’s 45th birthday and she wanted to have her group of mom friends over for a pajama party and to watch the LSU vs. Alabama football game. In addition to the 8 women at the party, two men, Jeanne’s boyfriend, Jose Barrera, and Tom Smith, one of the other women’s husbands, were also in attendance.
The Night of The Event
The first friend to arrive was Nicole who came at 4 PM to help decorate. The rest were scheduled to arrive around 7 PM or later, with the game’s kick-off happening at 8 PM. Tam arrived close to 8:30 as she was home prepping a meal for her family to have while she was gone.
According to witness statements, all of the women brought different alcohol for the birthday girl. When Tamla arrived at 8:30, she had brought tequila from Mexico. Jeanne declined because she didn’t like tequila and one guest recalls Tam encouraging the other women to try it because it was “the good stuff,” but they all declined, preferring to drink other liquor instead.
Around 1 AM most of the party was slowing down and people began getting rides to go back to their own homes, or settling in for bed at Jeanne’s house. Though Tam had made plans to stay in one of Jeanne’s kids' rooms, she wasn’t quite ready to settle down. She had so many responsibilities as a mother of five active boys, and she wanted to enjoy her night out. Another party-goer left at 1:47 AM according to the security system on the front door. A few minutes after that, there is a record of the backdoor being opened at 1:49 AM. This is the door Tamla had been using to access the balcony to smoke throughout the evening. At 1:50 it was closed. Then at 1:57 AM, it opens again with no record of it being closed again.
Jeanne’s aunt, who was sleeping on the basement level, woke up around 8:30 AM. According to her statement, she was about to make herself a pot of coffee in her room, when she saw Tamla outside. The aunt said she knelt down to pray and looked outside and saw the dalmatian pajama onesie Tamla was wearing again and knew it wasn’t a dream. She didn’t open the door or yell out. Instead, she went upstairs to get her niece.
Jose and Jeanne got dressed, went downstairs, and called 911 just before 9 AM. According to both Jeanne and Jose’s statements, they discovered Tamla’s body with her arms by her side. But based on police reports, Tamla’s right arm was to the side. However, Jeanne described finding the body at that first moment: “Both arms were down by her side and that’s why I know it’s those other two women that are saying it because they said they spoke to the detectives and her arm was up here in a position to brace itself. It was not because that image is burned in my head because the best way I could phrase it, it almost looked like she face-planted because I’m like I’d never imagined someone landing with like her toes almost pointed. And her hands perfectly by her side, like and all my stuff is based on Law and Order and CSI. So it’s not a good reference point but I was just shocked at how she was lying.”
When the police arrive at the scene, they ask all party-goers to return to the house. They take measurements of the balcony and the distance from the railing to the ground. They conclude the fall would have been 17’ and 11’. Law enforcement also noted that Tamla’s right hand was positioned at 10 o’clock or a 40-degree angle, a detail that contradicts Jeanne and Jose’s statements. Police interviewed all ten witnesses present who all concurred that Tamla was happy and the life of the party. There were no conflicts, fights, or arguments among the women, and that everyone was in good spirits. Jose noted there were no “sad” or “angry” drunks and when police asked Jeanne if everyone was happy, she said, “No. LSU lost.”
Forsyth County Sheriffs sent Tamla’s body to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations for an autopsy. The report confirmed the likely scenario and theory that she fell from the balcony. The autopsy report also shows that Tamla had severe injuries of the head, neck, and torso, making note of superficial abrasions on her forehead, above her left eye, the bridge of her nose, her right temple, and chin. She had a fractured vertebra, her right wrist was dislocated and a laceration was present on her heart. Her toxicology report showed a blood alcohol level of .24 (three times over the legal limit) and traces of THC and Xanax in her system. Tam’s family believes there is more to the story and is working to have the case re-examined.
Where The Case Stands Today
Tamla's loved ones continue to seek answers about what happened that night. The GBI has closed its investigation, ruling that it was an accidental death. Her friends and family have started a petition to urge the FBI to investigate. You can add your name to the petition to have the case re-examined, and you can follow her family on social media to amplify their efforts to get #JusticeforTam—even shares on social media can help keep her case in the public eye.