Tamla Horsford, of Cumming, GA, died from massive internal injuries, according to the medical examiner's report released by the Fulton County Sheriff's office on Friday.
Horsford, a 40-year-old mother of six, died on Nov. 4, 2018 after attending a "football moms" sleepover at the home of a friend in Cumming, GA. Her death was ruled an accident at a Feb. 20 press conference by Major Joe Perkins, head of the sheriff's major case unit.
Perkins said Horsford died after falling from the back deck of a home in the 4000 block of Woodlet Court in North Forsyth County.
Her body was discovered at about 9 a.m. in the backyard of the residence, where she'd spent the evening drinking and partying with at least 12 people. Among the guests at the all-women slumber party were three men. Horsford was the only Black guest at the party.
In her statement to detectives, Madeline Lombardi, the homeowner's aunt who lives in the home, stated that she discovered Horsford laying facedown in the backyard of the residence. She initially thought Horsford was sleeping and she was "startled" by the body's position and went to wake the residents inside the home.
"I told them Tam was in the grass not moving. Jose (Barrera) came downstairs. Someone called 911," her statement reads.
Maj. Perkins said there was no substantial gap between the time Horsford's body was discovered and the time the 911 call was placed by the homeowner, Jeanne Meyers.
Perkins said deputies arrived at the scene at 9:07 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2018, just eight minutes after Meyers called 911.
The investigation determined that Horsford was heavily intoxicated when she wandered out onto the back deck after the other partygoers went to bed.
The reports state that the residence's security system logged the back door opening and closing at 1:49 and 1:50 a.m. The door then reopened at 1:57 a.m., but was never closed and was found ajar the next morning when Horsford's body was discovered, according to Forsythnews.com.
The now public GBI Medical Examiners Report, completed by Associate Medical Examiner Andrew Koopmeiners on Feb. 5, 2018, stated that Horsford died from "multiple blunt force injuries" that are "consistent with those received in a fall."
The detailed report, published by Forsythnews.com on Friday, describe a fractured cervical vertebra in the neck, bleeding on the brain, and multiple lacerations and abrasions to the face, head, neck, torso and extremities. Her right wrist was dislocated and a 1 inch laceration was observed on her wrist.
The report also described a "3/4 inch linear laceration to the right ventricle" of her heart, meaning a tear in the wall of the right lower heart chamber. That injury alone would have been fatal.
"In light of the autopsy findings and investigative information, the cause of death is multiple blunt force injuries and the manner of death is [an] accident," Koopmeiners wrote in the report.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also released a toxicology report that showed that at the time of her death Horsford had an elevated blood alcohol level of .238, traces of THC (marijuana) and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in her system.
Witnesses in the home identified 2 bags belonging to Horsford. A pink bag contained clothing, a black wallet and an additional purple bag, a Florida driver's license, a bank statement and one dollar in US currency, according to the report.
Witnesses stated Horsford arrived at the home at 9 p.m. the night before. She brought with her a tequila bottle which deputies collected from the bar area as evidence. The bottle was one eighth (1/8) full. The witnesses stated that only the decedent drank from the bottle.
Forsyth County detectives logged over 300 man-hours investigating the case, according to Perkins. Investigators conducted 30 interviews with "certain family and friends" in the 3 months since Horsford's body was discovered.
Horsford's death made worldwide news last week after WSB-TV and Forsythnews.com reported the firing of former pre-trial officer Jose Barrera, who was in the home the night Horsford died.
By coincidence, Barrera is the boyfriend of the homeowner, Jeanne Meyers, who placed the 911 call to report Horsford's death.
Barrera was terminated from his position in the Forsyth County Court in December after authorities determined that he allegedly accessed documents related to Horsford's death through his work terminal at the courthouse.
Horsford's best friend, Michelle Graves, told WSB-TV that Barrera harassed her after she started asking questions about Horsford's death.
Barrera was eventually rehired and still works for Forsyth County government, according to a source.
Hundreds of people circulated the news of Barrera's termination via the hashtag #TamlaHorsford on social media.
Interest in Horsford's death skyrocketed on Facebook.com, Twitter.com and around the world.
As a result of the news reports and the high interest on social media, Forsyth County officials hastily closed the investigation into Horsford's death on Feb. 20 - more than 3 months after she died on Nov. 4, 2018.
Horsford's father, Kurtrick St. Jour, told Majic 107.5 radio personality Ryan Cameron he was happy the investigation into Horsford's death was closed, because it meant the family's attorney, Lee Merritt, could gain access to the investigative reports and death scene photos.
St. Jour told Cameron he believes his daughter was killed inside the home and carried outside where she was dumped in the backyard. He said a 2nd autopsy performed at the family's request showed post-mortem injuries.
"I want the truth of what's going on, because I mean, the stories I've heard so far, none of them make sense," said Horsford's husband, Leander Horsford. "And if they don’t make sense, usually there’s a reason they don't make sense.”
Leander and Tamla Horsford have 5 sons, ranging in age from 4 to 14. He also has a 24-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
During their interview with detectives, Leander Horsford and Terry Blanco, sister-in-law to Tamla Horsford, asked why Horsford’s shoes and cigarette butts weren't collected and tested, asserting that evidence could have been overlooked.
"Even when she's had the most [alcohol] she could have, she's never ever fallen down,” Blanco stated. "We all know Tami and none of this makes sense."
"In my personal opinion I think that the investigation has been mishandled," Horsford said. "That's just my personal opinion because there's a lot of things that were left back, that should not have been left back."