GBI to investigate death of Forsyth County mother

The GBI said Friday it has agreed to investigate the 2018 death of a mother of five while at an overnight party.

The decision came at the request of the Forsyth County sheriff.

“Renewed requests for reexamination are best served by an independent law enforcement agency to review previous findings and to search and act on any new evidence which may come to light,” Sheriff Ron Freeman wrote in the letter, which was addressed to GBI Director Vic Reynolds.

Tamla Horsford, 40, died Nov. 4, 2018, while attending a party at a Cumming home, according to investigators. She was found unresponsive in the backyard and appeared to have fallen from the home’s deck, more than 10 feet off the ground.

RELATED: Mom found dead at party had blood alcohol level nearly 3 times legal limit

ALSO: No evidence of foul play found in death of Forsyth County mom

The following February, investigators said Horsford’s death had been ruled accidental, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

An autopsy determined Horsford broke her wrist and had head and torso trauma, and blood testing determined she was highly intoxicated, the sheriff’s office previously said. Horsford also had marijuana and Xanax in her system, according to toxicology reports. Though others at the party were interviewed, no one saw Horsford fall.

Horsford had numerous severe injuries to her head, neck and torso, including a broken vertebrae and laceration to her heart, the GBI said.

“The observed injuries are consistent with those received in a fall,” the agency’s autopsy report stated.

Sheriff asks GBI to open Tamla Horsford Death Investigation In light of recent calls to reexamine the death of Tamla...

Posted by Forsyth County Sheriff's Office on Friday, June 12, 2020

Family members and friends questioned whether Horsford could have died from the fall. The family hired a private medical examiner who found extensive injuries all over her body, Channel 2 Action News previously reported.

But the sheriff’s office closed the investigation, finding no evidence of foul play.

“No evidence or injury patterns indicative of an assault or foul play were noted by Forsyth County sheriff’s detectives or the Forsyth County Coroner’s Office or GBI Medical Examiner’s reports,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

An attorney hired by the Horsford family told Channel 2 earlier this week he believes the mother may have been intentionally killed. Attorney Ralph Fernandez said his review of the case indicates Horsford’s death may have been a homicide.

“It appears Tamla was involved in a struggle,” Fernandez wrote in a letter to the family. “There were abrasions consistent with that scenario. There were parallel scratches to one arm. Since they were fresh, photos would not have proven recent use of defensive force. There was one X-ray, yet the injury noted as the cause of death appears nowhere.”

After the WSB report, rappers T.I. and 50 Cent were among those who posted about the case on social media.

“Where is the investigation on this one? SMH,” 50 Cent posted on Instagram.

An online petition, created on the change.org website, tallied nearly 580,000 signatures of supporters requesting the case be reopened.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.