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Authorities: Forsyth County woman died from accidental fall
Reports and case files to be released later this week
Tamla Horsford. Photo courtesy of GoFundMe.

Investigation into the death of a Forsyth County woman has now been officially closed by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities have ruled that on the evening of Nov. 4, 2018, Tamla Horsford, 40, fell from the back deck of 4450 Woodlet Court in north Forsyth during an overnight party, her body was discovered laying in the residence’s back yard the next morning.

At a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, Maj. Joe Perkins, head of the Sheriff’s Office’s Major Case Unit, told reporters that after several months of investigation, the State of Georgia medical examiner has ruled that Horsford’s death was accidental and her injuries are consistent with a fall from the deck at the residence.

“No evidence or injury patterns indicative of an assault or foul play were noted by Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Detectives or in the Forsyth County Coroner’s Office or GBI Medical Examiner’s reports,” Perkins said.

Tamla Horsford press conference

Press conference held by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office at the completion of the Tamla Horsford death investigation
By: Jim Dean

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A death certificate obtained by the Forsyth County News states that Horsford’s autopsy determined that Horsford died from “multiple blunt force injuries” at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. The death was classified as an accident with “acute ethanol intoxication” (or alcohol intoxication) being a “significant condition contributing to” her death.

Perkins said that deputies arrived at the residence at 9:07 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2018, just eight minutes after a call to 911 was placed by the homeowner. He said that authorities were immediately alerted after the body was discovered.

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Maj. Joe Perkins of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office's Major Case Unit speaks to press about the death of Tamla Horsford at conference held Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. - photo by Ben Hendren

In the months since Horsford’s body was discovered, Perkins said that their detectives have logged more than 300 man-hours investigating this case, conducting neighborhood canvasses and about 30 interviews with “certain family and friends.”

No substantial evidence was found on security cameras at the residence or other surrounding homes Perkins said, but detectives were able to corroborate certain details of the incident from entry and exit logs from the home’s security system."There were no witnesses to that, to the fall," he said. "Most of the other partygoers had already gone to bed at that time and she was on the deck alone."

Despite “vocal” individuals in the community insinuating foul play, each of the individuals involved has “fully cooperated with law enforcement in attempting to give family and friends answers with regards to the tragic death,” the law firm said.A statement released on Feb. 14, 2019 by law firms Banks, Stubbs & McFarland and Bexley Law Firm, who represent the homeowner of 4450 Woodlet Court, said that since Horsford’s death, their clients and other individuals who were present at the party on Nov. 4, 2018 have received “death threats on various social media postings.”

But, the actions of one witness in Horsford’s death have been called into question by residents and local authorities, after it was determined that he allegedly accessed an incident report from the death through his work access as an officer with the Forsyth County court system.

Through an “audit trail” of county computer systems, Perkins said that investigators determined that Jose Barrera, a former pre-trial services officer with the Forsyth County Court system who attended the party, inappropriately used his position to access a report from the incident several times through his work access.

Barrera was later terminated due to court administrators’ “loss of confidence” in his ability to perform duties as a pre-trial services officer.

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Authorities say Forsyth County woman Tamla Horsford fell to her death from the deck of this north Forsyth residence in November 2018. - photo by Ben Hendren

After Barrera’s firing, interest in Horsford’s death skyrocketed online, with hundreds of people taking to social media with the hashtag #tamlahorsford and questioning different reports made in the case.

Previously Perkins said that Barrera’s actions were unethical but not illegal. On Wednesday he said that the actions, “brought a cloud over” the death investigation.

Authorities said that the case is now closed and the sheriff's office case file regarding Horsford's death will be released later in the week.

“The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mrs. Horsford during this tragic loss,” Perkins said.

Multiple attempts by the Forsyth County News to reach Horsford’s family have been unsuccessful, but an obituary states that she is survived by her husband, six children and many other family members and friends.