Slain Georgia mother Debbie Collier will be laid to rest in Athens by a private memorial service, as investigators continue to search for the suspect(s) responsible for her murder.
Collier, 59, was found deceased on September 11, a day after she vanished from her Athens home. Police say foul play was involved but so far, no suspects have been named or arrested.
The private funeral will be held for Collier at the Lord and Stephens Funeral Home East.
“She was a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend,” an Online Athens obituary reads. “After a long career at Athens First (Synovus) [s]he went to work at Carriage House Realty where she found a whole new group of friends.”
Collier’s son, Jeffrey Bearden, called his mother a “vibrant and strong soul,” according to Fox News Digital.
“I will never be able to fully articulate the loss of my mother and what she meant to me,” her son told Fox on Saturday.
“She was my longest source of love, support and encouragement. My mother was a very, vibrant and strong soul. She was a person who valued kindness, empathy and understanding throughout her entire life. She went through life recognizing the beauty and grace in everything she saw and experienced around her.
“Daily life was filled with joy and beauty,” Bearden said. “She spent her time enjoying and making art. She valued listening to, dancing and singing along with her favorite music. My mother consumed herself with the holidays, as her focus remained on family and the value of being together over a home cooked meal.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, 36, contacted police on September 10 after she reportedly received a Venmo payment from Collier for $2,385. A cryptic message was attached to the Venmo payment that read, “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.”
Police said at around 3:15 p.m. on September 10, the Venmo payment was sent to Bearden.
Bearden, who reportedly waited several hours before contacting police, said Collier left everything at home aside from her ID and debit card, which contradicts what’s seen on security footage at a Family Dollar store, the last known sighting of Collier.
Collier’s husband, Steven, said during a 911 call that Bearden told him she found her mother’s purse at home.
“Came home, my wife wasn’t home, her driver’s license still in there, the rental car is gone, and her daughter’s here,” Steven Collier, the first person to make the report, said on September 10 at 6 p.m. “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.’ Whatever that means, we don’t know.”
“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.”
According to security video footage, Collier walked into a Clayton, Georgia, Family Dollar store on September 10 at around 2:55 p.m. She was seen carrying a large black purse and vehicle keys while wearing a UGA football jersey.
Police say she was seen on security footage buying, in part, a lighter, a tarp, and a bag.
On September 11, police tracked a rental vehicle Collier was using to a wooded area 60 miles away from the family’s Athens home.
Police scoured the vicinity of the vehicle and found her body and a burned blue tarp in a nearby ravine. She was naked, charred, and deceased, police said. Although the case is being treated as a homicide, it’s unclear how Collier died.
At this time, there is no evidence to suggest or support that this incident was related to a kidnapping,” the Habersham County police previously said in a statement.
So far, no arrests have been made and no one has been named a suspect in the killing.
Check back for updates.
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[Featured image: Debbie Collier/Facebook]