Debbie Collier murder: PI sheds light on Georgia mom's last moments, says 'she was trying to crawl away'
HABERSHAM COUNTY, GEORGIA: An obituary of murdered Georgia mom Debbie Collier has revealed details about the "joys of her life". Collier's naked and charred remains were found in a ravine in Georgia on September 11. On the same day, 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.
"Debbie Marie Collier, 59, of Athens passed away on September 11, 2022. Born on September 2, 1963 in Oneonta, Alabama, she was the daughter of the late Eugene and Marie Todd," the obituary reads. "She was a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend. After a long career at Athens First (Synovus). She went to work at Carriage House Realty where she found a whole new group of friends. The joys of her life were her grandkids and growing various plants. She will be missed by all."
It adds, "In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Terry Todd. Survivors include her husband, Steve Collier; son, Jeffrey Bearden (Nicole); daughter, Amanda Bearden; stepson, Jason Collier (Holly); stepdaughters, Stephanie Kutchback (Kevin); grandchildren, Jake Collier, Riley Kutchback; brothers, Bobby Todd (Sandy), Jimmy Todd (Renea); sisters, Diane Edwards (Lee), Susan Todd, Sheila Todd; various nieces and nephews."
Meanwhile, private investigator and criminal profiler Jason Jensen told The US Sun that that 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." Collier disappeared on September 10. Officials are treating her death as a homicide. Georgia investigators collected an unfired ammunition round from a wooded area near the spot where her body was discovered.
Police found Collier lying on her back, clutching a small tree. “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 themselves 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 anyway 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 are yet to be released.