Mother of 5's death ruled accidental; investigation closed

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Investigators have ruled that the death of a mother of five during an overnight party was accidental after her death gained national interest online.

Tamla Horsford was found dead in the backyard of a Forsyth County home in November 2018, the morning after she attended an "adult slumber party."

At a news conference Wednesday, the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office announced they were closing the case because investigators  said there was no evidence of foul play in Horsford's death.

Investigators cited the medical examiner, who ruled that her injuries were consistent with a fall from the home's deck. The report said that a fall from a deck caused multiple blunt force injuries and that "acute ethanol intoxication" was a contributing factor.

Channel 2's Mike Petchenick was at the news conference, where Mayor Joe Perkins said his detectives interviewed 30 people -- including people at the party, family and friends.

"No evidence or injury patterns indicative of an assault or foul play were noted by the detectives or the Forsyth County Coroner's Office or the GBI Medical Examiner's report," Perkins said.

911 calls from the incident support the story that Horsford's death was an accident.

"We had people over last night," the homeowner told dispatchers. "We were drinking. Most of us went to bed. One of them stayed on the balcony. She was drinking, and we just went outside and she's facedown in the backyard."


Horsford's friend, Michelle Graves, has been outspoken about believing that her friend's death was not an accident. Petchenik spoke to Graves last week. She said she believed something else happened to Horsford, and the family hired another medical examiner who found extensive injuries all over her body.

Petchenik spoke to Graves again Wednesday after the news conference. Graves insisted there's more to the story, even after police closed the case.

"They're totally lying," Graves said on a phone call with Petchenik. "They're not out of the woods, because this was not an accident."

Graves said the family's own medical examiner found other injuries they believe Horsford sustained after she died.

Horsworth's father, Kurtland St. Du Jour , spoke to Atlanta DJ Ryan Cameron's radio show after the sheriff's announcement Wednesday.

"Her injuries were not consistent with what they're saying," St. Du Jour said. "This is so fishy, I just don't want it to get out of hand."

St. Du Jour said the medical examiner the family hired found injuries they believe happened after she was already dead. St. Du Jour believes someone threw his daughter's body off the deck.

"Her wrist was cut, broken. Where the body was, there was no blood pool, which means she was already dead," St. Du Jour said.

Petchenik reached out to the homeowner's attorney, but hasn't heard back.

Toxicology tests are expected to be released Thursday. Petchenik has put in an open records request for both the tox screen and the case file.

Thousands of people  on social media called for further investigation into Horsford’s death with hashtags #TamlaHorsford and #JusticeForTamlaHorsford.