Georgia Mom Found Naked, Burned After Sending Chilling Message to Daughter

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Facebook/Venmo
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Facebook/Venmo

“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.”

That was the chilling Venmo message Deborrah “Debbie” Collier sent her daughter around 3:17 p.m. on Sept. 10—along with approximately $2,300—before the 59-year-old left her Athens, Georgia home in a rented SUV and vanished. Less than 24 hours later, authorities would discover her body, nude and severely burned, in a ravine about an hour away.

According to a Habersham County Sheriff’s Office incident report, obtained by The Daily Beast on Tuesday, investigators found Collier on Sept. 11 “laying on her back, grasping a small tree with her right hand.”

“Collier’s remains [were] apparently burned with what appeared to be charring to her abdomen,” the report added, noting that remnants of a burned tarp and a red tote bag were nearby.

The grisly details have only sparked more questions about a harrowing case that investigators are treating as a homicide. So far, authorities have not yet identified any suspects or provided a cause of death for Collier—but have noted that a number of search warrants and interviews have been conducted.

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An Athens-Clarke County missing persons report, obtained by The Daily Beast, says Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, reported her mom missing on the evening of Sept. 10 after receiving the Venmo payment. (The Venmo payment, reviewed by The Daily Beast, shows that Collier used her husband’s account, which she appeared to do in previous transactions. The Colliers also appeared to share a Facebook account, which included several pictures of the pair.)

Bearden told police “the message scared her and got her worried for her mom, so she tried calling her but she did not pick up.”

“Amanda also informed that her mother did not take anything with her but her driver's license and debit card,” the report states. Bearden said Collier left the house in a rented black Chrysler Pacifica because her car had recently been in a crash.

Police also spoke with Collier’s husband, Steven, on Sept. 10. He told police he had not seen his wife of nine years since the evening of Sept. 9, when he went to bed around 9 p.m. He said when he left for work in the morning, Collier’s rental car was still in the driveway.

“He clarified that he and Deborrah sleep in separate bedrooms due to his snoring,” the report states. “Both Amanda and Steven stated this is unusual for Deborrah to do this. She has not done anything like this before.”

At around 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, Habersham County dispatch was contacted by a Sirius XM service representative who said they had gotten an alert that Collier’s car was in their area. The representative said that the car was either “stopped or pulled over” about an hour away from Collier’s home.

The incident report states that when officers arrived, they found the unlocked car pulled off near an old logging road. Collier was found yards away near a red tote by an “uprooted tree.” Next to the tree appeared to be “the remains of a fire,” the report added.

Eventually, Bearden arrived at the scene “in a hysterical state” and began “screaming that the vehicle belonged to her mother.” The officer briefly asked Bearden about her mother’s mental state to which she insisted that her mother “did not have any history of mental health issues and denied any suicidal tendencies.”

“She also stated that her mother had a bad back, and couldn’t have walked far,” the incident report states. Collier’s family did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Tuesday.

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