FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s office has requested the GBI to open an investigation into the death of Tamla Horsford. In a June 12 letter to GBI Director Vic Reynolds, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said “renewed requests for re-examination” into Horsford’s death are best served by an independent agency to review previous findings and act on any new evidence.
The letter said the Sheriff’s Office will assist the GBI and turn over its complete investigation case file.
Horsford, a mother of five, was found dead in the back yard of a Forsyth County home on November 4, 2018 following an adult “slumber party” in which several others were inside the home. Investigators concluded that Horsford had a fallen from a balcony at the home and had died on impact. They ruled the incident an accident.
“We recognize that transparency is vital for law enforcement agencies, and we want to ensure that no stone has been left unturned in the investigation of this tragic death,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Skepticism on the circumstances surrounding Horsford’s death arose when a Forsyth County court system employee, Jose Barrera, used his role with the court to access a report from the incident. Barrera was later fired for the incident. Some have also criticized the lead investigator in Horsford’s death
Interest in the case has been rekindled in recent weeks amid protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
Recently, an attorney representing Horsford’s family said that after an “exhaustive review” of records related to the investigation that homicide is a strong possibility.
The letter also states that Horsford was involved in a struggle, evident by abrasions “consistent with that scenario.”
The letter, written by attorney Ralph E. Fernandez, charges the Sheriff’s Office with mishandling the case and states witness statements are conflicting. It also questions why there were allegedly no photographs taken of Horsford’s autopsy.
As of June 12, a petition on change.org calling for officials to reopen Horsford’s case has received over 586,000 signatures.