Debbie Collier

Debbie Collier: PI Says Slain Mother Could Have Been ‘Trying to Escape’ Shortly Before Murder

A private investigator says the way slain Georgia mother Debbie Collier was positioned is telling of how she may have died last month, in what police are calling a homicide.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, police found 59-year-old Collier’s body around an hour away from her Athens home on September 11. She was naked, charred, and clutching to a small tree branch with her right hand. Police also found a burned blue tarp in a nearby ravine, along with her smashed cell phone and a red tote bag.

Although the case is being treated as a homicide, so far, there have been no arrests, and no one has been named as a suspect.

According to the US Sun, private investigator and criminal profiler Jason Jensen says since Collier was grasping a small branch, it could be indicative that she was attempting to escape the killer(s).

“It sounds like she was trying to crawl away from somebody,” Jensen said. “If it’s of your own volition, you’re usually at peace with the act and you’re not trying to escape something.”

Jensen added that he’d like to know if the killer tried to burn Collier but the final autopsy and toxicology report has not yet been released, and it could take weeks before it’s completed.

“I would want to know if they were trying to burn her, or her clothing. If it looks like they tried to use an accelerant, I would want to see that as well,” Jensen said. “It’s easy to determine because you would be able to know from the tell-tale burn signs if there was gasoline used.”

Police previously said there is no evidence to suggest the attack was random and no evidence to suggest that Collier took her own life.

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; the same items were later found at the crime scene.

Investigators continue to work the case while awaiting the final autopsy and toxicology results on Collier’s death, which could take weeks.

Check back for updates.

Read: Additional Debbie Collier coverage 

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[Featured image: Debbie Collier/Facebook]