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MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF: Tamla Horsford // Joseph Smedley


In the last few years two people died under very mysterious circumstances. Though their cases aren't connected they were each quickly ruled an accident or suicide. But if you take a closer look, there might be much more to their stories and their families need your help to find the truth about what really happened. 

Sources for this episode cannot be listed here due to character limitations. For a full list of sources, please visit: https://crimejunkiepodcast.com/mysterious-death-tamla-horsford-joseph-smedley

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode was made possible by pc matic, stop cyber criminals in their tracks with American made antivirus pc matic pc Matic protects windows, computers, an servers max an Android phones in tablets, we're just fifty dollars for five devices for a full year. Plus you get a thirty day money back guarantee crime drug. Sign up now, will receive a three month of cyber security protection with the purchase of an annual licence at pc, matic dot com, Slash cried junkie, that's p, c M a tea. I see dot com, Flash Craig, junkie, high crime, junkies, I'm your host, Ashley flowers and I'm grit, and today I'm gonna tell you to stories about two mysterious debts, one Jeff
that at first many saw is a terrible accident and another that many saw as an unexpected suicide. But when you take a closer look, that might not be the whole story. These are the stories of tallow horse furred Joseph Smedley on the morning of Sunday November, for two thousand eighteen incoming George
police get a nine one. One call at eight thirty nine, a m. The call is from a woman named John Myers and her boyfriend, Jose Pereira, saying that Johns friend is in the back yard, lying face down on the ground, John, so that they ve been partying the night before doing some drinking, and she thinks her friend might have fallen off the balcony and into her back yard, first responders from foresight, county sheriff's office, hurry to the scene and arrived in less than ten minutes there, just like John in Jose said they find the body of forty year old Tm Le Horse Fort tablet is fully dressed still wearing the fleece Palmprint ones that she had on the night before she's face down in the ground.
With her head, pointing away from the house and her feet, pointing towards the House arms splay out pointing at different angles and with her laying face down. One of the only immediate, visible injuries is on one of her wrists, which is swollen and looks like it might. Even be broken right away, police start talking to John and Jose and the other women who spent the night there trying to piece together what the heck happened. John how's police, the Temple was one of a group of friends that she had over to celebrate her birthday with, like an adult sleep over. She says that there were eight of them, total eight women and from a video I saw of the sleep over on Lena Black Stars website. It looks like they were. Having a great time tables got her pj's on everyone in the group is like arm in arm singing happy birthday in the kitchen. It was perfect. It sounds like normal Light in, like everyone can have a few drinks and not worry about driving her
home and just enjoy themselves yeah. That's totally the impression I got a girl's night in, but it wasn't just girls because Johns boyfriend Jose was there also and to other guys, named Tom and might, according to Brian Puglia, who reported on this story for the foresight, Tammy NEWS. The group spent the evening genes I was watching football playing cards against humanity. Drinking and John gives law enforcement a pretty detailed timeline of the whole night. She said people started to show up around seven p m that night and TIM Le got there at about eight o clock bottle of tequila in hand, and she said the first thing that Hamlet Day, when she got to the house, was take a shot of whisky and then she kept drinking her to keep up for the rest of the night. Oh, was everyone drinking like that, like shots of hard liquor and stuff like that, so the other women were keeping pace with her all drinking pretty heavily in pictures. I saw from the party they're holding cops all like.
My laying piled together on the couch having a great time which is matching with what John is telling police everyone there got along that night. There is no conflict, nothing, they all look really comfortable with each other. Like a tight knit group of friends. So they're all having fun doing the typical party stuff, but this isn't in all night or anything I mean we're talking about whim in their early forties with stuff to do the next day and for table it leaves, and that includes parenting yeah. I cannot last much past midnight these days and I'm only thirty one same hind. This to begin with family in town. I say up to like twelve thirty two nights in a row- and I feel like I am still recovering like midway-
right now to hold only so as people get tire, the party starts to die down a little and John says: Tamar wasn't ready to turn in. She wanted to stay up and keep the party going a little bit. So a couple of the women had already left by this point. Has some of them worked sing and some of them were going home and everyone else is pretty much ready to crash so around one. Forty five in the morning tablet told the people that were left that she was gonna head out to smoke one last cigarette on the balcony before turning in for the night. Most of women went to bed. Probably thinking Tumblr was close behind, though the case file states that Brigitte, who is one of the women in the group, actually decided TAT home around the same time the tumblr went outside, and so she was actually the last person to see tambo. Then there was a second woman who left really early.
That next morning, to go to work like before. The sun even came up like for ten a m when she left the house, but John tells police that to the best of her knowledge, everyone else had settled in for the night and they had no idea. Anything was wrong until the next morning, so no one heard or saw thing not the women who stayed behind or the woman who left right is Tamar was heading out the balcony, and even the woman who left at like four in the morning when tunnel was presumably already on the ground. No, not thing police spoke to every one who had been at the party nine they all say the table was alive when they went to bed or they didn't see anything when they left and accordingly, There was nothing to suggest that any thing had happened to her. I guess I'm can shocked that no one heard anything like a means to take that kind of fall from high enough to kill euro and no one here anything what the balcony wasn't like. I'm we're not talking about
tell balconies stories hides just on the second floor in eighteen. Twenty feet tops off the ground so I don't know how allowed the fall would have actually been in. Truthfully. We don't even know how long she was they're right, like she, went out there some time between one thirty, two o clock in the morning when we don't know when the fog actually happened in if it happened like her, you are saying, and then maybe they're all just passed out, drunk and oblivious, even if there was a sound Zactly right and then what it was John that found her the next. No, so actually the person who finds Tabula is Johns, Aunt Madeline, who lives in the house to Madeline, please that she had gone to the back yard just to get like a feel for the weather that morning and at first she thought Hamlet was sleeping, but once she got a better life, at the way Tamar was links played out and face down like that. Like literally face straight down, not even to the side she
got scared and ran back inside to the house, to tell John who then made that call to nine one one, and here I am actually going to play. You heart of that nine one, one called that eleven alive news posted on their use to page, because I think it's important to hear it for yourself to understand why this case is coming under such scrutiny. So first you'll hear Johns Voice and then you'll hear her boyfriend, who say forgot tat, not one
in my home, but the address. What is your name mainly young Meyer? What's goin on people over like most of the points that were made on the balcony drinking we get one outside and sat down in the backyard. Look at me, I'm getting married fell off without any death. A pay as you breathing, and I dont know how to forty one here hold on
they were Gacek, the patient, breathing she's, not moving wonder, not breathing better tat, he employed by down yard. She is How can he never truly outward lottery? what I am about to happen,
one ever. Thank you, thirty blood, anything the word for mercy, though I don't know about your group. Moreover, anything you do check and think he'd breeding signatory than any in united gone than that to a large part of the call here is actually reductive, but when it resumes here is the first thing we get really not sure. Ok, like the ally Why did you see that's what I can say without moving around in our she arab? Do you know that all in all, I have no matter what other time thumbed, like my girlfriend,
the pole goes on for almost another five minutes and I will leaned out to the full call on our blog post for this episode on our website. But I think there was a lot of interest, information that we got there? Oh, I have a lot of thought first, when I first heard Johns call that's not what I was expecting to hear from someone who just found their friend possibly dead in their backyard. Like John, is very calm and collected, and it sounds like when she makes that call. No one has even check to see if Ten was even saw alive, Yemen. The operator asked that a bunch of times re like has anyone checked and in the renowned answer, seems to be like we're, not sure and listen I mean we see all the time. It's impossible to know
Oh, how you're gonna react in a situation like this until you're? Actually in that moment, and not everybody is going to react, how we necessarily think they should, but I'm I too definitely noticed how Emmy not panicked they both sound on this. Paul. I mean I'm a nurse Anderson Kind of Jose being calm and collected like he didn't know, Tambo that well was girlfriends, probably where we think should be freaking out, but you would expect to hear some one in the background like oh, like that, there could be a dead person in your back yard where, because these aren't the only two people there at this moment either yet and would also interesting, is on that call. They get her age wrong. So again he didn't know her super well, he says she's, forty one, but should actually forty I dont know to read into that either a rule. But let's talk while a thing that suck out to me more than anything with that, what's with the whole redirected part and then
when the operator comes back in asking if Emma was suicidal, I mean without hearing the whole time by can't know for sure, but are we to assume that Jose made some sort of insinuation that team I killed herself girl, the first then, I heard that call I couldn't stop thinking about that were dagda part, so I did little bit of digging online and I was able to put some of the pieces together. So there's a reporter named Desert Thomson from Vibe magazine who, I presume, based on her writing, heard the whole thing because she reported on a part of the call that I didn't hear. So I am assuming that she's reporting on the rejected part. And what was we're Dac did really stuck out to me because according to desert is article on the call- and I believe this is after Jose was told to go. Look for blood Jose, says: quote: I'm noticing a small cut on her right, Rick
she's not breathing whatsoever? I dont know if this cut with self inflicted end quote was that the risk of police thought looked broken yeah, I'm pretty sure the same rest that had that visible injury I talked about earlier, but in the end there's nothing else at the scene to suggest Hamlet, died by suicide and there's nothing to suggest foul play either. Based on with these, at the scene when they arrive and what they hear from John Jose and others at the party police tell Hamlets family that her death was almost certainly the result of a fall off of the second story balcony. They basically said this is a tragic. This is heartbreaking, but we think it's an accident. However, they have to wait for the autopsy results from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation before they can actually make a confirmed ruling on this
and with those autopsy result. Police are also hoping that it will give them more. Information may be fill in. Some of the blanks for TAT was grieving families, but why Those results finally do come in. Instead of giving the horse for family answers, they are left with. So many more questions. Today's observers me a small by pc matic. It's not something. We talk about a lot here on the show, but cyber There are no jobs and is only getting worse, which is why we love pc Matic, its next Jan Antivirus, designed to block cyber criminals from stealing, not only your personal data, but also your money. There browser extension, also enhances your experience by blocking most annoying and sometimes malicious pop ups counts, as well as, and somewhere malware tax and fake virus skims it's an American May,
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be the run down of what the medical examiner says. He found severe injuries to her head her neck, her torso. Believing in her brain a broken neck and damage to her heart and those are just a severe injuries. Oh, oh my gosh, like what about the risk that was cut that paramedics, maybe was broken. Was the medical examiner able to tell us the cut? Was self inflicted at all so, according to the released case, file tables? Where was it broke in, but it was just located and the cut that he saw was mentioned on. The call is only mentioned as a part of like a long run down a minor injuries listed in her autopsy report, all of which that they say happened during the fall, but there are so many other injured. He's too, like other minor injuries, Adrian Haiti, Forty four eleven alive news that Tamar had cuts
her shins her face and according to the medical exam report. She had a scrape on her left or in another one on her left index finger. So while the cause of death is officially multiple blunt force injuries, the Emmy confirms the pull This is theory and rules that the manner of death is accidental thing, that alcohol is a contributing factor, because her toxicology report show that her blood alcohol level was at point to three eight percent, which is almost three times the legal limit in Georgia. The thing is, I don't know exactly how messed up she would have been, because I mean I everyone handles and hold their alcohol differently
ample from a case. I was looking up a while ago and I don't know how much time a wave. But if I were quickly, I think, for a like one hundred and fifty pounds per cent to get around that same blood alcohol level. It will take about nine or ten drinks, which is kind of a decent amount for any one. I think agreed and on top of that, the report also found both marijuana and Xanax in hamlet system as well. I mean nervous is really a surprise, though right like that amount of alcohol is at least consistent way What John and Jose and a lot of other people are saying about what everyone is drinking the night before, on top of that mixing it with even just prescription drugs can lead to other things here and I'd be shocked. If TAT was the only person with drugs in her sister, like does not the kind of
you really want to mention on the phone with police that you're all doing drugs, but I haven't seen anything reported anywhere else about drug activity at the party or anyone else even being tested So in the end the medical examiner found that all of tablets, injuries that cuts the scrapes the blunt force trauma to her head were consistent with a full from the balcony. So I know we didn't play the full call here, but I have listened to and later in the call. He mentions security cameras, but I feel like this that would clear everything up yeah what those cameras- teller, He did. He mentions the bath authorities, cameras and anyone says that, like I'm sure that back caught everything, you can see what happened but that only mention of security cameras that I could fight. In the case file, though there was this
email from John Holmes Security Company saying that the battery on her system was running low and needed to be charged. So I dont know if the cameras, maybe we're working. That night or if something happened, looked to me like war working at full capacity, at least yeah. But it's weird to me that that's not even a dress like to me that the glaring hole like say, definitive, that they weren't working or there wasn't a came on the balcony may be somewhere else in the house by its huge question mark I have- and I am sure other people who listen to this call have as well. I just I don't know how to answer in so without any footage to contradict what the police Medical examiner are saying the rule from Emmy is that there is no evidence of foul play in that time was death was just a tragic accident, but not everyone is satisfied with that ruling, hamlet, good friend, Michel Graves is one of them. Michel doesn't think temples. Debt was an accident. She thinks the term. What was more
and she is not shy about it either pretty much right from the time here the dies. Michel is in the press and on social media. Asking questions and demanding to know the truth about what really happened to her friend. She just doesn't by that. This was an accidental debt, cheating but the people at the party no more than their saying about that night in an inner. You that she did with W S be TV, knew she actually shares her concerns to the inner of you are asking. Why did they leave? alone in the first place and like why didn't anyone go check on her and if TAT were really was that you Did she managed to even get over the balcony railing? To begin with, we is a balcony really really high too high for someone to Paypal time over by themselves. So I don't think so, but I'm only basing them on
one picture that I've seen it looks just like any other balcony reeling that I've seen it like about waste height, and here let me actually just to show you I feel this really is a pretty standard hide and even if it wasn't, there were, are tables and chairs and even a propane tank out there. These are all things that she could have climbed onto and re, but placed herself over here's. My question in the end is a genuine question, because I am not an expert in full trajectory. These are anything, but we know that her head was away from the house. Her feet were towards it like shit went straight out into me. That's not consistent with an accidental tumble off of a bell, We write like you're sitting on the railing. I would think you are you your balance, your kind of like flailing out looking for something to grab? Aren't you. I would think that you would fall not flat on your face
But again I mean I'm trying to put myself in tabling shoes and there could be a lot that I'm not considering, but that is the only point. Shall has Michel is also critical of the investigation itself. She tells W S tv news that she was told at first that Tamar had died not from an accidental fall from the balcony, but from our how poisoning and she didn't even learn about the fall until much later now she sure that something else is going on that other people at the party are hiding something she's, so sure that she starts posting online about it and those accuracy. Can lead to. According to John Attorney, death threats against John and the other party got worse, so, as you can imagine, John and the others are not happy that their needs are.
Bear and your being accused of committing a crime that they say never even happened, but it doesn't end there because Ben Michel finds out. That Her personal information like her home and work addressed her phone numbers hurt true rivers, licence. Even details about her extended family has all been stolen and is now in the hands of John and Jose and other people from the party that night a tablet died. Michel files, a police, complaints saying that whoever got all this information got it from confidential port documents o k, but who would have access to those? Well, it turns out hose. I regret it. What's the YAP, Jose was a pre trial services officer in the foresight, county court house and wise is an important word here, because, as Alexander pop reported in the Foresight County NEWS, whose
he thought put on administrative leaving December after he accessed confidential files, about quote a current invest de Shin surrounding a death in which, you were a witness end quote clearly ten laws, but why would he do it well? Jose says it wasn't him. He says that he isn't the only person with access to those files. He does anybody could have done it and I mean technically. Yes, he is right, but there's only one person who works at that court house and who also happens to be part of that investigation. So for people like Michel, who are already sceptical about the story, what happened that night at Johns House its clear as day to her? Why Jose access those files she thinks he's either guilty of something or protecting someone who's guilt. Of something Jose totally denies that he went anywhere near these files and he says that the time basically listen, it's two thousand eighteen in
is everywhere. Anybody can get stuff like this stuff like this could delete all the time. However, I mean his boss obviously disagrees and Jose actually gets fired from his job just three days into his leave on December twentieth, two thousand eighteen, the police. Arrest, Jose or charge him with any crimes and for Michel that just furthers her suspicions that whose aim is somehow in bed with the police, but the whole situation, puts a door, cloud over the investigation and the police are actually pretty upset about it, but now of this came out in the media until February eighth of two thousand nineteen, which wrought hamlet case back into the public. I once again, then
Even two weeks later. On February twenty at the foresight, Tunny sheriff's office announces that beer investigation into TAT was death is complete. It was indeed an accident and they are calling it case closed, but instead of putting the case to rest flurry of activity Jose getting fired. The announcement from Police- all it does is still up even more attention, so now the sheriff's office makes a huge amount of information public like I was surprised how much they actually released incident report. Hi logs, the medical exam artful autopsy report, everything in the case file got put out to the public and another thing: the police release as part of the case file or security records from Johns House. She had a system basically like simply safe, that logs every time a door opens and clauses and the foresight town,
NEWS published. Those logs from the night tablet died and Bert I mean have you read exactly what it says log shows that the front door was opened and closed one. Forty seven M, which must be the first person about picked up from the party right. Yes, it out the front door which wouldn't have been the balcony. So that's what we're assuming Okay, two minutes later at one hundred and forty nine, a dot m, the back door opens and then closes at one hundred and fifty a dot m. But then at one hundred and fifty seven is open again and does it stay open all night using times yes, so when the door was checked in the morning, it was slightly ajar, so it had never been closed. Right and also security systems aren't foolproof largest
so many different variables. I can go into it, but here's a question: I don't think you ve mention timeless time of death. Do we know that we do so on the death certificate, it lists one thirty, a m as the time of injury o k, but we just had activity from one forty, nine one, fifty one, fifty seven August was opening the door during those times. I don't know I've always been under the impression that the time of death is more of a window rather than exact pinpoint any unless you have a video or witness or something right, but there's another weird variable about the night of November. Fourth, two thousand eighteen that we have to consider that night was actually daylight savings, so, instead of going
one hundred and fifty nine a dot m to two a dot m. The clock would have gone from one hundred and fifty nine to one a dot m. So my best guess is b is at one. Thirty is actually to thirty yeah, and maybe that's where the discrepancy lies, but Truly, I mean it is one of the many questions in this case that has never been fully explained so eyes, more and more questions are popping up tablets. Friend Michel, isn't the only one who's questioning police tablets dad Kurt is too. He calls the whole thing fishy and even him was husband. Leander is quoted in the Foresight County news, questioning the lead detective on the case in saying that the story about Hamlet, falling off the balcony does it make sense TAT so with the case officially closed by police and traditional media, having moved back from the story as well, but this is, social media picks up right, where traditional media left off and Hamlet story starts gaining Momo,
come on Twitter, different Facebook groups, even deeper, blogs and more and more people start to question the police's conclusion in Hamlet case. They point out that the Foresight County has a brutal history of racist violence and segregation, and when I was reading about this case, I learned about how the county literally claimed to be all white for decades and how, in nineteen eighty seven over two thousand National Guard troops had to be called in to protect black civil rights marchers from furious white supremacist. This is nineteen. Seven. That is not that long ago, you guys know, and according to Data USA's website in two thousand, seventeen coming Georgia, which had the foresight county seat where tail on her family lived had only two hundred in two black residents, just three percent of the population, so many
people on social media in these blogs were starting to think that timeless case was handled differently because hamlet was a black woman in a very white town and in the current climate that I believe, is even more magnified. So with this as the backdrop, the horse for family decides that they cannot accept the police's conclusions of what happened at Hamley, and they want to pay but so later that same month, one that police, officially close the case that was February two thousand nineteen leader- that money if the only hires and independent pathologist to do a second autopsy we too Michel the pathologist bound multiple abrasions, all over town was body, Alexis Stevens and might put Chinik reported for the Atlantic Journal constitution that the pathologist also found injuries that get. This could have only happened after TAT,
that was already dead, that there were no like blood around her body and that someone could have the roan her body off about D, there's not a lot else out there that I could find about what exactly this independent pathologist found. I think, probably because timeless family has legal counsel, who are doing their own like deep investigation in keeping that information close to their interest for now. But it's just one more layer of curiosity to this whole tragedy. However, it is far from the last. This episode was made possible by better. How is there something interfering your happiness or preventing you from achieving our goals. Let better help help you with better help. You go from sign up to communicating with the professional councillor in under twenty four hours. The service is available.
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Actually sue Michel graves for defamation, claiming that they suffered irreparable damage as a result of Michel being so publicly vocal with her theories that they had something to do with ten was dead. They claim the Michel statements news outlets and on social media led to a total barrage of nastiness like defamation and even death threats. Now that suit goes forward. In November, two thousand nineteen the judge asked Michel to download a bunch of her social media posts and information onto a flash drive and to drop it off at the Foresight County Court House, just like pretrial stuff, so Michel goes ahead, gets flash drive with all the requested information on it, and she drops it off at the court house and then the flash drive vanishes. What's it just goin, and that's that in time, in less than a year that Michel's personal information has run into trouble at the county court House, you can imagine that she starting to get super suspicious, she tells W S,
tv news that, even though she was able to re download all the information and get it to the judge like he ass, she doesn't think that this was a clear legal, air or simple mistake. She thinks the original drive was stolen. Now the county clerks as now it was stolen it got lost. We gave her, you drive no harm, no foul, and they also say they change their policy to make sure that this does not happen again but it is one more reason for Michel and for the horse for family to be just a little bit distrusting of the system. Yet I was going to say if they had concerns before this. This almost confirms its exactly now tombless case made headlines, again very recently when the black lives matter. Movement catapulted horror story back into the spotlight social me once again has lit up fun, razors, we started and the clamour for answers will grow. Louder and louder after boys, after voices asking what really happened to Tumblr horse bird and a
those voices- I mean you, a big people, fifty Santee I who, according to BT, both shared social media, postmarked hamlets death. Both questions the investigation in earlier this week. On June, eight, twenty twenty W S be tv news reporter might put Chinik published a letter on his twitter page, it's to tackle as husband from his attorney Ralph Fernandez, and it's absolutely stunning here, but I want you to read it to our listeners. The letter says quote dear Leander: two weeks ago we finished the exhaustive review of the records related to the investigation into the death of temblor. I am glad we have the opportunity to conference today with the rest of immediate family, hopefully by Tuesday I'll, have a more detailed analysis for you, but for today, however, I want to repeat some of what I told you. The review reflects that homicide is a strong.
Possibility. Witness statements are in conflict, a potential suspect handled the body as well as the evidence prior to the law enforcement arrival. Evidence was disposed of and no inquiry followed. The scene was, not preserved evidence was inappropriately handled. The investigation was compromised by unauthorized access and disclosure to potential targets, and witnesses A remarkable fact is that there were no photographs taken during autopsy of ten was body. This had to have been done at someone's directive, because such a practice is unheard of. Let us address one she was a sample in reverse order from the above. It appears TAT Emma was involved in a struggle, There were abrasions noted consistent with that scenario. There were parallel scratches to one arm, since they were fresh photos would have proven recent use of defence.
Force but having no photos in yours toward detriment. There was one x ray Yet the injury noted as the cause of death appears nowhere getting the records has another monumental task, to say the least I could go on and will, in a few days Forsyth County Sheriff's office. Employees have been the subject of much criticism. The case agent was a close friend of the subjects who turned out to be the league of the ongoing investigation. The town of coming has a history which raises eyebrows. After conducting my extensive review, I have come to the conclusion that the truth never had a chance here. Let me conclude by telling you that my years of experience lead me to believe that
The percent of cases were African Americans die under mysterious circumstances and of closed or cold, because there are no videos and the only witnesses are bad guys or good guys. Who deep down are really bad? Then you have cases where law enforcement as a poor job and cares little to investigate thoroughly because of some connection or association to the perpetrators. Take the Amal Arborous laying recently without the video surfacing in the media. There would never have been and the rest in that cosy relationship
between the perpetrators prosecutors and the investigators. A rookie lawyer who gets a video in wrongful death case where he stopped car is we're ended by speeding. Semi will win each time. A video of someone walking up to a bank teller face uncovered and fiery gun quaint. Blank almost certainly lead to conviction, but those facts are not what we are dealing with here here. We are fighting uphill battle, because those who were the badges and were entrusted with the investigatory task fails you, but this is not over. It will never be over, be safe, be strong. We will get to the bottom of this sincerely Ralph Fernandez end quote this same day. This letter is published the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who conducted tablets autopsy and the foresight
County Sheriff's office. Both responded. They stand by their original findings in clean that photos from tambos. Autopsy do actually exist, though I don't know that they made them available to the lawyers or to the public that, at least for me now still unknown. Now, what is amazing about this is that on June twelve, twenty twenty, the George, a bureau of Investigation agreed to re open trammel is case, and this is huge, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is because of people like you. It is public pressure that make this happen to never think that you can make a difference. They did this indirect responds to a petition that got over like five hundred thousand signatures. So when you hear stories like
You can make a difference. If we all act. If we do more than listen, there is something that you can do. There is changed that can be made because you care for table a horse for the loved ones. Hurt tragic and mysterious death left behind way more questions than answers, but hopefully the reopen investigation will help them finally get the closure that they deserve. They fought long and hard to get her case. A second look and their efforts paid off your efforts paid off so before we end are episode. I wanna quickly tell you about another case that needs attention like tat. Was God because again, Tantalus records only got released, because every one in the public was asking for them was making a sting
it only got we opened, because people were signing petitions and cared. I couldn't do a full episodes on this next case, because there have been no records released. No real media attention. There's been nothing, but this case is equally as strain and the only way that we will get records released in, in way that there will be more media reports or we investigation is, if you Or listeners demand it. This is the case of Joseph Smedley in September, two thousand fifteen Joseph Smedley. The second is twenty years old and going to college at Indy and university in blooming ten, where he's majoring in biochemistry now, he lives off campus with a couple of roommates. All three are members of the stigma pie, fraternity and everything in Joseph Life seems to be going pretty
until early on Monday morning of September, twenty Eightth two thousand tee when his older sister Vivian, gets a weird text from him in here, but I mean have you read the text message the text said Viv, I love you, I'm leaving the country by not telling you why I'm keeping you safe and protected. Please don't try to contact me this number. It won't work, I'll contact you once I'm set up overseas. Thank you for everything valve love you and I'm sorry. Ok, so was Joseph known to travel like this kind of on a whim last minute, not at all, according to double teach our news. He doesn't even have a passport, so Joseph send that tax around for fifteen. In the morning and Libyan sees it when she wakes up shortly after eight a m and initially She kind of like shut up Joseph, like thinking this is a joke, or being weird here when he doesn't respond.
And she immediately start to worry. Joseph Stanley calls police to file a missing persons Report smell. Please make the hour and some change derived from India to blooming tend to start looking for him as soon as they get to blooming ten Vivian head straight for Joseph off campus apartment, and it takes her no time at all to notice that some things are really off. First of all, Joseph stuff is still in his room. I mean everything clothes laptops shoes, even his phone charger, everything that you would expect to be gone if someone's leaving the city, let alone the country right, but is phone missing too. Yes, so his cell phone is gone, but it looked pretty much the only thing missing. Besides Joseph himself. They also find a note that Joseph left on his bed for his roommates, with pretty much the same message that he texted to Vivian that he's leaving the country is pointless to try and contact him
Vivian says it's not josephs handwriting, although when officers compare it to Joseph Class notes, they find what they call similarities between the two. But as far as I can Well, it was never sent away for official analysis everyone's just I bawling it now what police don't I know, during their initial search for Joseph, is any evidence what so ever that he actually bought any plane tickets were made any other travel plans, so frantically Joseph friends and family spend the next few days searching
all over blooming ten and the surrounding areas. Looking for any trace of him. The last time anyone saw him was eleven thirty, the night before when his roommate say that they all went to their own rooms to go to bed so for days. There is absolutely nothing, no sightings, no word from him just nothing until four days after he went missing on Friday October. Second, when Josephs Family gets a phone call that will change their lives forever. This episode was made possible by caliber, what's great about c b D. Is that it helps you feel better without making drastic changes to guarantee. My caliber seemingly has helped me management stress levels which had been at an all time high, but it's so nice, because I keep my little packets of powder here at the office. I add the powder right my morning, coffee, it's completely odorless and tasteless
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On a second, two thousand fifteen of fishermen is out on gritty lake, which is just outside of blooming, ten and north of the eye. You campus, when he notices something there floating in the shallow water is a human body. When the Monroe County Corner comes out, he confirms the smugglers worst fears. It is Joseph. The coroner says that his cause of death is consistent with drowning and, just like, we talked about in the death of tabula officials, say right away no foul play is suspected in addition to being beyond heartbroken Josephs family is also I'm completely taken aback. According to Santer Chapman's peace for W teach our news Joseph with a good swimmer who was comfortable in the water, coupled with the strange tax and the note that he may or may not have written none of what their being told by law
Forcemeat makes any sense to the family and they feel deep in their got that there is more to this story. You mentioned that the only thing missing was his phone did. Please find with his body or at least near where he was found. So Vivian is We voted in the Indiana Daily student on December, eight two thousand fifteen, saying that the phone was never recovered but according to an interview with one of the detectives that appeared in the daily student three days after that Joseph Stone is recovered, though they dont say exactly where, but police do say they access his cell records and what they see doesn't seem to joy with the story his roommates were telling about everyone going to bed at eleven thirty that night, because the text sent to Vivian the day that he disappeared. That from, like four o clock in the morning came from near seventh and Walnut Street, which is near this whole like strip of bars kind of downtown.
But then just a couple of hours later in about six thirty, a M cell records indicate that Joseph might have been near old state highway, thirty seven, which runs up north of Griffin Lake, so law enforcement, both the Eu Campus police and local cops along with sent tracking dogs go up to that area. Like looking for any kind of trace of him. But they don't pick up his sent or any of his belongings or anything that would lead them to him anywhere in those areas where his phone was pinging, which I dont know of it washed away, I dont have they couldn't pick it up or I don't know if the implication is that he wasn't with his own eyes we don't know where it was found or who was found with. We don't know right for family already reeling from the shock and grief of losing their twenty year old son, although this just adds up to more uncertainty and that uncertainty is compounded when two months after his death in December of two thousand fifteen the coroner rules, Joseph death assume
sign and right away. Joseph Stanley says no way: no, how this was not death by suicide and listen. I know a death by suicide It is a lot for loved ones to digest, but for the Smedley they're saying it's impossible, so Why don't they believe the ruling? Or there are a couple of reasons. According to Vivian Joseph, had agreed to run an errand, her on the Monday that he disappeared, and he also made other plans for the following weekend. I couldn't by anything in my research to suggest that he had a history of depression or suicidal behaviour. Now, while the coroner's report has ever been made public, the indian Daily Student newspaper reports that the family has seen it and that's not too, and
fuel for, like the Emmi or the coroner's report, to be released to the family upon request, but not made public right in December. Two thousand fifteen Vivian and her husband d on TAT come to camp is for an open, a vent called the critical conversation Joseph Smedley, in the aftermath where students could come together in basically a safe space to talk about race relations on campus, because I'm one of the big issues here is Joseph death and how the university He untold his disappearance like, for example, Joseph was reported missing on Monday morning, but I you didn't alive their community about it. Until four ride, like just before Joseph Body, was found,
so literally, unless someone New Joseph personally, no one on campus even knew that he was missing and its at this event. That Vivian shares some really curious information. Vivian says that Joseph was found in graffiti lake with his clothes and his backpack on now his backpack had a few papers in it Phone charger and external hard drive like all pretty lighten easy to carry things but Vivian also says. That she later learned that Josephs Backpack was on his chest, not on his back and it was carrying somewhere between sixty two and sixty six pounds of rocks inside of it. What I mean I guess that would weigh him down right, but I guess the question then becomes Ike. Is he Wang himself down
or did somebody put all of those rocks in their two way him down according to back a article on indian public media Vivian about please settlers- and enough is enough- and she request a second independent autopsy and the second autopsy has some consistent findings. For example, there is no question. Joseph cause of death was drowning, but there are inconsistency, is too and really important ones. For example, the pathologist from the second autopsy found hemorrhaging on Joseph back that could have been caused by someone holding him down and the second autopsy ruled that his death. Was not a suicide. What do they rule it? So I wasn't able to find that specifically, all it said was that it was not a suicide. I dont know if that means it was labeled under. Remained, I dont know if it has an official labeling, because again the family has may be seen. The reporter
hasn't been released to the public, but now that he's the only has this Vivian absolutely disagrees. The police is finding that there was no foul play. Involve she is com. She is sure that her brothers death was a homicide and here's what super interesting. So when you talk about either these rocks, did he put those Roxanne did someone? put them when you, when you think about the hemorrhaging on his back that maybe someone held him down. One thing I have mentioned is that when Josephs body was found up in Griffin Lake, it was only in about three feet of water, so I no that that would be somewhere if he chose to take his own life and you're gonna wait self down the rocks to do it in a place where you could, you could kneel and still be above water rather than just doesn't make sense a dozen end.
They also found one more thing, so, in addition to his backpack and all that stuff, they also said that he was wearing binoculars around his neck. Oh hey! I don't even know what to make of that. Neither do I to be told the honest, but when I looked into this a little bit, apparently there was a lunar eclipse that night s specific one where you would see the blood moon and it was happening between ten and one thousand one hundred and thirty p dot m. So there's this all true theory that maybe Joseph was up there to catch a rare glimpse and, and something went wrong thing happen something I've I truly dont know but didn't has remained say that they were all together like right at that time. Yeah. So that's the interesting part rights clearly, even if you want to say this, wasn't a homicide, some
One is lying, things are not adding up, and that's the thing about this case. If you take everything as it seems that tax to Vivian the note the backpack full of rocks, it can seem really straightforward, devastating, yes, but the pieces can fit together and to apply. Nobody tells a comprehensive story, a tragic story of a young man who died tragically by suicide. But imagine Joseph Deathlike a jigsaw puzzle. A puzzle that someone else has put together and handed you already please you could leave it like that and it will be fine put together just like that. But it's only when you start taking the puzzle pieces apart, one by one again, the text Vivian the note in his apartment, the backpack that they suddenly start to look different and they dont quite fit back together. The same way and that's how I like to think about this case. Could it be a tragic death by suicide? Maybe, but
Could there be more to Joseph story? Absolutely when the investigation first began, it was led by I, U campus police but then was transferred to the blooming ten p d a few days in, but instead of continuing to work with Vivian as Joseph next of Kin, they did his interesting when they took the case to be Pd Bay started working with Josephs Father O K is not a big deal, while it wouldn't be a big deal, except according to the justice for Joseph face. Page. He was actually a strange from his father like to the point where he legally got a man's, a payday who are and what you think he's been like that, since he was a team you're, so there is really no reason for this man to be involved. In that case, let alone be the point of contact for the family right and I'm not sure why they chose him. I don't know he was officially listed on something again. This is just like.
More example of the puzzle pieces not quite fitting. Together in the days and weeks following his death, Joseph was described by friends and family and acquaintances on social media and even in the press as joy, full and full of life. Now listen, you know he wouldn't be the first person with depression to paint a very different picture for the outside world and we ve come a long way when it comes to the stigma, run mental illness, but it still exists in some cases that stigma doesn't come in as much from the outside in but rather from the inside. But there was this one thing that I found Brett that really had me thinking so take a look at Josephs Widder Bio. Can you read that out loud for me sure it says Joseph Sprightly, I? U undergraduate, biochemistry pre farm if found dead in police custody.
It wasn't suicide. So here's the thing. I don't have any background on this again. This is a screenshot from his twitter account. I dont know we know was that change after his death was it made before Avalon questions around us? I I don't have the tools or the insights to to verify any of this, but it is, it is strange. Is it is this summer? who was contemplating suicide, or is this somebody who may be had something going on. No one else knew about like with something happening in his life that they made him feel like. He would need to write something like that or I dont know, if maybe like so many other black Americans Joseph was just suspicious and distrusting of the police and possibly for good reason, because that suspicion and distrust would not be
misplaced. Why didn't I you take Joseph disappearance seriously, or at least not seriously enough to alert people to be on the look out for him. I mean when you think back to the other. Are you pace that we covered worn spear, how many podcast and blue Colleagues and news articles have been done on her case, like the entire campaign. Even now I mean you have like, modulation years after graduation years of people who have passed, who never even went to school with her, but you say that warrants beer on. I use campus and everyone who she is well and even going back to. I use handling of announcing or notifying students that Joseph missing, like I remember when Lorn went missing. An idle three hours away from our you yeah. I had never heard of Joseph case until it was suggested to us, so
I am even closer than you are in it never made it on. My radar could literally try and look up his case. You have like a couple of news. Article We would like fleeting mentions that the only people who really kept the story alive at all is actually like the eye you student newspaper, its self. There is now an official petition for Joseph case, like there was in tablets. You can find the linked to that on our blog post for this episode, and you can also find it by visiting the justice per Joseph Facebook page. You guys have the power to change the way. These cases are handled. Please go sign. The petition talk about Josephs CASE talk about Hamleys case sheer this episode with your friends and family. This the only way we get changed. You have to do something and you have to talk about it your help? We one day may know the real story of what happened to Camelot and Joseph, but there is one thing we know right now and that that their lives matter,
and they will not be forgotten. To see pictures and to get the links that everything I talked about today to see all of our source material. You can find all that information on our website crying junkie pond cast dot com and be sure to follow us on Instagram at Prime Junkie podcast, and you guys if you are interested in any of the new shows that Audio Chuck has coming out check out audio chuck on Instagram as one and Willie back next week with a brand new episode.
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Transcript generated on 2020-06-23.