The sudden disappearance and death of Athens woman Debbie Collier has shocked people across the Georgia and the nation.
Details about the discovery of the woman’s body in the woods in Habersham County have raised questions about her disappearance and death.
While there aren’t many concrete investigative details surrounding the woman’s initial disappearance, here’s everything we know about the case:
Who was Debbie Collier?
Deborrah Todd Collier was a 59-year-old Athens resident, according to police.
Police identified Collier’s adult daughter as Amanda Bearden. She told investigators that her mother had no history of mental illness and that she had a “bad back,” indicating to law enforcement she couldn’t walk far on foot.
Carriage House Realty, Inc. in Athens employed someone by the name of Debbie Collier as a Front Office Manager, according to the website. The company’s social media had not publicly acknowledged Debbie Collier’s death as of Sept. 22.
Debbie Collier appears to have shared a Facebook account with her husband, Steve Collier.
Collier was a Georgia Bulldogs football fan, according to the public Facebook posts.
When did Debbie Collier disappear?
Collier was reported missing from Athens on Sept. 10. Her daughter, Amanda Bearden, told investigators that her mother’s car was in the shop at the time and that she left home in a rented Chrysler Pacifica SUV, carrying only her license and a debit card.
Based on the incident report narrative from the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, Athens-Clarke County police received assistance from Habersham deputies on Sept. 11.
When, where was Debbie Collier found?
Athens-Clarke County police are revealing more of the disturbing details surrounding Debbie Collier’s death. She is the woman who was found naked, partially burned, dead and “grasping a small tree” in the woods.
In the afternoon on Sept. 11, Habersham County deputies and Tallulah Falls Police Department officers responded to the area on Ga. Highway 15 in Clarkesville where Collier’s car was reported.
A police sergeant found a car parked in an apparent “pulloff” that led to an old logging road off Ga. Highway 15 on the northbound side, according to an incident report.
A Tallulah Falls police officer told investigators the car was in the same spot at around 5 p.m. on Sept. 10. In the investigative report, the officer said it’s ordinary for cars to pull over in the area.
The car was unlocked and empty, according to the investigative narrative.
Law enforcement called Georgia State Patrol Aviation for help.
How did investigators use satellite radio to find Debbie Collier’s car?
Someone working for Sirius XM contacted Habersham County Sheriff’s Office investigators on behalf of Athens-Clarke County police regarding the location of Debbie Collier’s car.
The satellite radio provider said there was a signal coming from Ga. Highway 15 and Victory Home Lane in Clarkesville.
Not every car with Sirius XM is capable of being tracked by law enforcement.
Is Debbie Collier’s disappearance, death drug-related?
A Habersham County Sheriff’s Office report said the investigation indicated the incident was drug-related.
It’s not known what kind of drugs were involved and which parties were buying, selling or trafficking drugs.
What was the cause of Debbie Collier death?
The GBI crime lab is annalizing Debbie Collier’s body and items from her car. Investigators’ findings are still pending.
Investigators discovered her partially burned, naked and “grasping a small tree,” according to police documents.
Downhill from the scene, investigators found a blue tarp with burn marks, and “a nude female laying on her back, grasping a small tree with her right hand,” according to the incident report.
Investigators believe whoever was responsible attempted to burn the body. Her remains were “apparently burned with what appeared to be charring to her abdomen.”
Investigators said there is no evidence to suggest Debbie Collier’s disappearance and death are related to kidnapping or suicide.
State law enforcement did not issue an alert for Debbie Collier’s disappearance, which sometimes happens in active kidnappings situations.
Collier’s daughter told investigators her mother did not have a history of suicidal tendencies.
How is Venmo connected to Debbie Collier’s death?
Athens-Clarke County Police Department investigators told Habersham County Sheriff’s Office deputies that the last known message from Debbie Collier was a Venmo transfer from an account belonging to Steve Collier to Amanda Bearden, who police identify as the Collier’s daughter.
The message with the transfer says, “They are not going to let me go love you there is a key to the house in the blue flower pot by the door.”
FOX 5 Atlanta obtained an image of a Venmo transfer from Steve Collier to Amanda Bearden.
Police said the transfer was for $2,385.
Based on previous transactions, Debbie Collier may have had access to the Venmo account.
Is there a suspect or person of interest in Debbie Collier’s death?
Investigators had not shared information about a suspect or person of interest as of Sept. 22.
On Wednesday, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office said investigators executed several search warrants at locations directly tied to the victim.
Investigators in Habersham County also interviewed “those closest to the victim.”
“Upon receiving results and reports from all submissions and subpoenaed records, sheriff’s office investigators look to identify persons of interest for further follow-up and interview,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Habersham County Sheriff’s Office investigators Cale Garrison at 706-839-0559 or George Cason at 706-839-0560.