Debbie Collier snapshot

Debbie Collier: Son of Georgia Woman Found Mysteriously Dead Says Sheriff Laughed at Him, Dismissed His Concerns

Slain Georgia woman Debbie Collier’s son says the Habersham County sheriff laughed and “snickered” at his concerns over his mother’s unsolved death and his family’s safety.

On Monday, Collier’s son, Jeffrey Bearden, told The Daily Beast that Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell dismissed his concerns about his mother’s case during a phone call last month.

“I want him to resign, absolutely,” Bearden said. “He just dismissed my concerns and laughed at me. I would not be the man I am today without my mother, and I can’t let another victim’s family go through what I went through on the phone with [Terrell].”

Collier, 59, was found deceased on September 11, a day after she vanished from her Athens home. Police initially said foul play was involved but so far, no suspects have been named or arrested.

Bearden told The Daily Beast that he was concerned about leaks in the case that somehow made it to the media, including the possibility that Collier’s death may not be a homicide.

Law enforcement sources reportedly told Fox 5 Atlanta that “evidence at the scene suggests her death could have been accidental or a suicide,” although investigators previously stated there was no indication that Collier took her own life.

Bearden said he contacted Terrell to get an update on whether someone from the sheriff’s department leaked information, and also to share his fears over his family’s safety.

Terrell reportedly told Bearden that he had no knowledge of any leaks and that people have the “right to free speech.” Bearden said as he continued to tell his concerns to Terrell, the sheriff snickered and dismissed him.

“I had to ask him to stop. I told him that I felt like it was disrespectful to laugh at my circumstance,” Bearden said. “And when I began to push further about the leaks, he said, ‘I am trying not to hang up on you.’”

“And then he started laughing again, and that’s when I ultimately hung up on him.”

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A spokesperson for the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office responded to The Daily Beast and said the department is “certainly sympathetic to the emotional tension that the extended period of time taken to investigate such a complex and unique case causes a family seeking answers.”

“We can assure you that Sheriff Terrell, as well as all involved members of the sheriff’s office, have nothing but respect and understanding towards the family and that any misunderstandings regarding discussions related to this case are nothing more than just that—a misunderstanding,” the spokesperson reportedly said.

“However, at the same time, it is incumbent on us to exhaust every theory of what happened and to derive at a finding that is based on facts and evidence rather than speculation and rumor. As stated, several times in the past, the scene involved in this case resulted in more questions than answers. As soon as all requested information has been received, analyzed, and evaluated, the sheriff’s office will provide a complete statement regarding the findings of this investigation.”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, 36, contacted police on September 10 after she 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.

RELATED READING: Daughter of Murdered Debbie Collier Has History of Arrests, Including Fights with Boyfriend: Court Docs

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.

Check back for updates.

Read: Additional Debbie Collier coverage 

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[Featured image: Debbie Collier/Facebook]