Debbie Collier: Cops say death of mom whose body was found naked and grasping tree could be ACCIDENTAL!
HABERSHAM COUNTY, GEORGIA: Georgia investigators have now begun to explore the possibility that the mysterious death of Debbie Collier may not have been a homicide, law enforcement sources have said. Investigators have no evidence linking several people close to the mom, including her husband, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend, to locations anywhere near the scene of what was believed was a crime.
It has been over a month since Collier's naked and charred remains were found in a ravine in Georgia. On the same day, September 11, surveillance footage from a Family Dollar store in Clayton showed the 59-year-old calmly shopping for a blue tarp, a lighter, a tote bag, and a rain poncho. Sources with knowledge of the investigation have now said evidence at the scene suggests her death could have been accidental or a suicide, Fox News reported.
Earlier reports pointed toward murder
Earlier reports, however, suggested that her death was a murder. A report seen by The US Sun revealed that cops found a bag, the remains of a fire, and a partially burned tarp at the crime scene. Georgia investigators collected an unfired ammunition round from a wooded area near the spot where her body was discovered. Investigators in Habersham County said her phone, which was smashed, was also discovered.
Private investigator and criminal profiler Jason Jensen told the publication that the phone could contain details that could help detectives tracks down her killer. Why Collier's phone was smashed and who smashed it remains unknown, but Jensen said she believes the device would have “no significance” if her killer was a stranger. Investigators believe Collier's death was “personal and targeted”.
Jensen said, "It tells me that there’s information on the phone that the killer was concerned about. The first inclination is to think that there’s something harmful on the phone. If they destroy it, investigators cannot find out who the killer communicated with.” He warned that the cellphone tower data will help “the truth come out” as investigators try to determine through digital evidence who Collier was in contact with before her death.
Jensen previously told The US Sun that the way Collier's body was positioned may shed light on her final moments. Collier's body was found naked in the woods, and she was reportedly grasping a small tree with her hand, a police report said. Collier sent her daughter, Amanda Bearden, $2,385 with the message, "They are not going to let me go, love you."
“It sounds like she was trying to crawl away from somebody," said the expert. "If it’s of your own volition, you’re usually at peace with the act and you’re not trying to escape something.”
It is unclear whether the alleged killer used lighter fluid to set Collier ablaze or if they torched her clothing. "I would want to know if they were trying to burn her, or her clothing," Jensen said. "If it looks like they tried to use an accelerant, I would want to see that as well. It’s easy to determine because you would be able to know from the tell-tale burn signs if there was gasoline used."
The FBI has now involved itself in the case, and Habersham County Chief Deputy Murray Kogod said the case “remains complex in nature”. No suspects or persons of interest have been identified yet. There is no indication that the FBI is leading the probe at the moment.
Kogod told reporters, “They wanted to see if they could review the case to see if there is any way to assist us. We are the lead agency but we always welcome our counterparts to assist us and we have received a lot of help from different agencies including the GBI, FBI, and Athens-Clarke County.” Additionally, Jensen said the FBI will be able to offer “specialized digital forensics capabilities.” Autopsy results have yet to be released.