'He continued to snicker': Murdered Debbie Collier's son claims Georgia sheriff LAUGHED when he sought help
HABERSHAM COUNTY, GEORGIA: Georgia mother Debbie Collier's son Jeffrey Bearden has slammed the Habersham County sheriff’s department investigating her mysterious death, which was ruled a homicide, claiming that the sheriff in charge laughed at him. He said the sheriff also dismissed his concerns about the death of his mother during a phone call.
It has been over a month since Collier's naked and charred remains were found in a ravine in Georgia. On September 11, 2022, 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.
"Today I woke feeling emboldened to continue on this journey of understanding why and how all of this transpired. I have been patiently waiting on my hands for weeks now for any type of information to understand what happened to my mother. My family and I have been forced to navigate moments we could have never expected. To say it’s been surreal is an understatement," Jeffrey Bearden wrote.
"While feeling emboldened to help protect my mother and my family’s safety, I made the poor decision today to reach out to Habersham County Law Enforcement. After several attempts and requests to be up to date on any information shared regarding my mother’s case Debbie Collier, I finally found myself on the phone with the Habersham County Sheriff to express my concerns. My goal in the conversation was to request to be updated on any press briefings, releases, and any other pertinent information since my other attempts were not panning out as promised. I was met with a Sheriff who did not empathize with my situation, my concerns for my personal and family’s safety after being doxxed online, or potential leaks coming out of his office despite several media outlets claiming sources in his own department. He instead used his time to snicker and laugh at my attempts to discuss my concerns and to tell me directly that he wasn’t trying to hang up on me when pressing him on his office’s actions. Additionally, he claimed that some of their errors regarding poor communication came from short staffing," Bearden continued.
"But he did remind me that the press has the right to free speech; well, so do I. So I feel compelled to share my experience with the Sheriff because I hung up on him abruptly after he continued to snicker despite my request for him not to laugh at my situation. Unfortunately, the elected Sheriff’s attitude and lack of understanding does not give me faith or confidence in their ability to handle her “deliberate and personal” death, nor does his inability to understand my concerns regarding leaks of information that I assume is only known by those directly working the investigation. I’m no longer feeling emboldened; now I’m feeling really stuck in a hard place and I’m asking for the internet’s help in this situation to remind me how much people actually care and love for my mother, Debbie Collier," he concluded.
Bearden also posted a video stating that his mother deserves better than what she is getting. "Please share because I don’t what else to do, but I do know my mom deserves better than a snickering sheriff," he captioned it.
Meanwhile, Georgia investigators have 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. 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, 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 reportedly 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, adding, "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, adding, "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 that 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.