Missing Georgia woman, Debbie Collier, found dead, naked and burned

Deborah Todd Collier, 59, was reported missing by her daughter and husband September 10th, 2022 in Athens, Georgia.

Deborah, also known as Debbie, worked as a front office manager at Carriage House Reality for years in Athens. She married Steve Collier in 2013 after the two had been together for 9 years. Debbie has two adult children from a previous relationship, Amanda Bearden and Jeffrey Bearden.

On Sept. 10th, Debbie sent Amanda a Venmo payment for $2,385 along with a message – “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”.

(This screenshot was taken in a different time zone, the Venmo was sent at 3:17pm EST)

3 hours after recieving the Venmo, Amanda and Steve reported Debbie missing. It was reported that Debbie had left the house with only her debit card and driver’s license.

At the time of Debbie’s disappearance she was driving a rental car, a 2022 Chrysler Pacifica, as her car was in the shop. According to Steve, the last time he saw Debbie was Sept. 9th around 9pm when he went to bed. Steve told investigators that he and Debbie sleep separately because he snores. He stated that when he left for work Saturday morning, Debbie’s rental car was in the driveway.

As it turns out, Debbies’s rented SUV was equipped with SiriusXM satellite radio, and on Sunday, Sept. 11th, SiriumXM tracked the SUV to U.S. 441 near Victory Home Lane, 60 miles north of the Debbie’s home, and contacted Habersham County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers arrived around 12:30pm and found the vehicle unlocked and unoccupied. Officers started to search and a K-9 unit found a red tote bag about a quarter-mile from the vehicle and “what appeared to be the remains of a fire” nearby.

A little further away, officers 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 an incident report.

According to the report, Debbie’s remains were “apparently burned with what appeared to be charring to her abdomen.”

One responding officer recalls seeing the SUV parked there around 5pm on the 10th, approximately an hour before Debbie was reported missing. He did not find it strange as “vehicles routinely pull into this area.”

Investigators also notified Debbie’s family when the SUV was located, but before the body was found. Amanda arrived on scene “in a hysterical state,” according to the report. She told investigators her mother did not suffer from any known mental health issues or suicidal tendencies.

Several family members, including her husband and daughter, stood nearby as authorities removed her remains from the scene.

The Habersham County Coroner’s Office transferred Debbie’s remains to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab for an autopsy, and GBI was also sent “various items of possible evidence” for enhanced analysis.

One interesting thing to note, the incident report has the drug related box checked as yes. Were drugs found on scene as well? Police have not said anything about that.

A neighbor told NY Post that there was a “commotion” at Debbie’s house the day before she went missing.

“There was commotion at the house,” a neighbor told The Post, noting she frequently heard shouting from Collier’s home atop a small, wooded hill in Athens.

The neighbor added: “Somebody comes up to visit on the weekends [and] in the evenings, and there’s loud screaming and fighting,” saying the visitor was a younger woman.

Debbie’s home

One friend of Collier’s declined to comment after answering the door of her home, but cryptically said: “There’s a reason we are keeping quiet.”

Another neighbor in Athens, Ricky, said Debbie and her husband were reclusive people who didn’t mingle with others on the street.

“When we would get together out here on the block for a cookout, they never participated,” he said, saying many locals didn’t even know their names. “They didn’t come to no get-togethers.”

“As far as I can tell they’ve lived here a good little while,” he said, noting he’s been on the same block for decades.

Amanda did an interview with CBS 46 10 days after her mother’s body was found where she says her mom was her everything. “Somebody took my whole world from me,” she said. “She was a beautiful, kind, giving woman — and she didn’t deserve any of this…I want justice for my mom”. Amanda says after she received the Venmo, she drove around for “at least two hours” to all the places she thought her mom may have been, including Walmart and Ulta.

Amanda says the last time she saw her mother was Friday, Sept. 9th, when they had dinner together, ran errands and then went home separately.

The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, Sept. 21st, revealed that investigators have found no evidence of either a suicide or a kidnapping. Detectives have served “several” search warrants and were looking to identify persons of interest.

Which begs the question, what happened to Debbie? If she was not kidnapped, why or who sent the Venmo to her daughter? Who killed the 59 year old mother and left her burned and naked in the woods?

Amanda, Debbie, Jeffrey, and Steve

Family members of Debbie have had their phones “confiscated” by police and feel like they’re being “looked at as suspects,” her daughter’s boyfriend told The NY Post Thursday, Sept. 22nd.

Speaking outside an Athens home he shares with Amanda, the boyfriend said the family has been given scant details by Habersham County Sheriff’s Office investigators.

“They haven’t really told us nothing,” he said, requesting that his name not be used. “They’ve interrogated all of us. The people who are closest to her are kind of looked at as suspects right now.”

He said cops have been in possession of Amanda’s phone, along with his own.

“It’s weird,” he said. “I feel like [the Sheriff’s Department] may have some leads but they won’t tell us anything.”

Amanda’s boyfriend said the couple moved to Athens from Maryland just two days before Collier vanished. “We came back Thursday,” he said. “Her mother brought us lunch Friday and then Saturday is when she went missing.”

“We have no clue what’s going on,” Amanda’s boyfriend said. “We’ve pretty much just been sitting at home watching movies.”

Amanda and her boyfriend, Andrew Giegerich, both have extensive criminal records for charges including domestic violence, drugs, and lying to police. You can read more about that here and here.

During one of their fights in May 2021, Andrew left a note threatening Amanda and her family which resulted in Andrew being ordered to stay away from Amanda. Despite all of this, the couple are still together.

Steve Collier released a brief statement to DailyMail on September 23rd.

He fought tears as he told DailyMail that Debbie was the ‘love of his life.’ “It has been a long two weeks and I’m very tired. My wife was a wonderful person.”

A close friend of the couple, who did not want to be identified, confided to DailyMail: ‘Steve loved Debbie with all his heart. I know that for a fact.

‘I cannot imagine what he’s going through right now, with the terrible loss of his wife and having to be part of the murder investigation and all that entails.

‘I have known them both for many years and they were a devoted couple.’

In a direct move of support, he added: ‘I know suspicion can fall on the family of murder victims, but I would bet my life Steve had nothing whatsoever to do with Debbie’s disappearance.’

Debbie’s son, Jeffrey, released a statement in regards to his mother’s death.

On Sept. 26th, it was revealed that Debbie was last seen alive at a Family Dollar store approximately 13 miles from the gruesome crime scene, a law enforcement source told Fox News.

A spokesperson for the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office on Monday said investigators were reviewing surveillance video taken at the Family Dollar store for the entire day of Sept. 10. In a press statement, the sheriff’s office confirmed obtaining the surveillance video and Collier’s purchase receipt from the store.

“Investigators did obtain footage that shows the victim, Deborrah Collier, entering the store on September 10th at 2:55 p.m. and remaining there until 3:09 p.m. In the video, the victim appears to be calm and not in fear of anything. All video footage obtained from the store and surrounding businesses reflect that the victim was alone in the van at the time she visited the store.

“Investigators were further able to determine that the victim purchased a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, a 2-roll pack of paper towels, a 7.5×9.5 OBD Tarp, and a reusable tote bag. This was confirmed by obtaining a copy of the store receipt and a copy of the video footage from the store security cameras.

“This information allows investigators to narrow the time of death to a window beginning at 3:09 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 to the discovery of the body on Sunday, September 11 at 12:44 p.m.”

This would also mean that the Venmo payment was sent only 8 minutes after Debbie exited the store.

On Sept. 27th, Andrew Giegerich said he and Amanda have been scared and sleeping with their doors barricaded. “We sleep with stuff in front of our front door and our back door because we didn’t have anything to do with this,” he said. “We’re a little scared ourselves.”

On Sept. 28th, the sheriff’s office announced it would be holding a public briefing on the investigation at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30th.

Fox News Digital visited the scene of Debbie’s death and saw burned paper towels, melted bits of blue tarp and a small plastic buckle, possibly from her red tote bag, and a piece of charred red fabric which looked to be from Debbie’s Georgia Bulldogs jersey she was seen wearing.

(Credit: Fox News Digital)

They also spotted an unfired round near where police found Debbie’s body. Investigators said it could be unrelated as there were no clear signs that Debbie was shot but took the bullet away in an evidence bag.

(Credit: Fox News Digital)
More images of items left at the scene

On Sept. 29th, the 911 call to police made by Steve was obtained by Fox News Digital , you can listen here. In the call, Steve says he came home from parking cars for the UGA game and Debbie was not there, he mentions Amanda was there and had found her mother’s purse in the home.

“Came home, my wife wasn’t at home, her driver’s license still in there, the rental car is gone, and her daughter’s here,” he says, around 6 p.m. on Sept. 10, making the initial missing person report. “We’re kind of worried about what’s happening and where she’s at. I was wondering if you could send somebody over here.”

“According to her daughter, who went up and, uh, her purse is still here with her driver’s license, the only thing is the phone is gone – and she sent her daughter a text about 2 hours ago saying ‘they won’t let me go,'” he continues. “Whatever that means, we don’t know.”

At one point, the dispatcher asks if it’s possible Debbie is at someone’s home.

“That’s a good question,” he says. “I thought she was out shopping for food. Her daughter came over with that strange message and then went upstairs to her bedroom and found out that her driver’s license and credit card still here. So that doesn’t sound like her leaving the house to go shopping, like I thought she was.”

Debbie’s phone was turned off after 3:17 p.m. – the same time she sent the Venmo payment. The phone’s last ping came at that time, about 2.5 miles from a cell tower in Clayton.

During the press conference Sept. 30th, police revealed that they found Debbie’s phone and the purse she had in the Family Dollar footage at the crime scene.

They said Debbie was seen at 2:17pm traveling north of the crime scene. She was also seen sitting in her rental car for 10 minutes after she exited the Family Dollar. Investigators initially marked the drug related box as they weren’t sure if the crime was drug related, they have no reason to believe it was.

Police are still awaiting the autopsy results and lab results from things found at the scene. They are also still waiting for several subpoenas such as those from multiple phone companies.

While the discovery of the new recording narrows down Debbie’s time of death to between 3:19 p.m. on Saturday to when her body was discovered at 12:44 p.m. on Sunday, Kogod said the case remains “complex in nature and has a lot of questions and unknowns.” They still believe this was a murder and are continuing to investigate as one. “There’s no evidence that shows that this was something random,” deputies said and added that “We believe that this act was deliberate and personal.”

Anyone with information on Collier’s case is asked to contact Habersham Sheriff’s Investigators Cale Garrison or George Cason, at 706-839-0559 or 706-839-0560.

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