Debbie Collier snapshot

Debbie Collier: Renowned Pathologist Dr. Baden Says Georgia Mom Likely Murdered, Despite Autopsy Saying ‘Suicide’

Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden says he thinks Georgia mother Debbie Collier was murdered, despite an autopsy report that indicated she took her own life.

According to the New York Post, Baden reviewed the autopsy report last week on Collier, which indicated that she died from “inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries and a hydrocodone intoxication.” According to Baden, however, since the autopsy report indicated she had no carbon dioxide or soot in her system, she would have had to be dead before the fire started.

“From a forensic point of view, that would indicate that she was dead before the fire started,” Baden told The Post.

Collier, 59, was reported missing on September 10, 2022, after she sent her daughter, Amanda Bearden, more than $2,000 via Venmo with a mysterious message that indicated she may have been kidnapped, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

“They are not going to let me go love you there is a key to the house in the blue flowerpot by the door,” the message read.

Collier’s body was found the next day, partially nude and partially burned and 60 miles from the family’s Athens home. The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office initially said it was investigating the death as a homicide and at one point said Collier’s death was “personal and targeted.”

The manner of death was later listed as a suicide following the autopsy results, which stated that Collier had “second and third degree burns involving 80% of the total body surface area” and “inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries and a hydrocodone intoxication,” according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

“It would have to be severely windy to blow away any carbon monoxide,” Baden explained, adding that it would be unlikely in the area where Collier was found in rural Habersham County, densely surrounded by woods.

“I think the medical examiner doesn’t understand what forensic pathology is.”

Baden also touched on the levels of hydrocodone found in Collier’s system, noting that although the levels were higher than average, it’s impossible to know where her tolerance level was with the drug since she had been prescribed it for a back injury.

“A little less than half of people would die,” from the amount of hydrocodone in her system, he explained to The Post.

Even so, had she died from a drug overdose, the autopsy should have read, “hydrocodone overdose with post-mortem fire injuries,” he explained.

“It makes it more confusing,” Baden added.

Medical examiners for the GBI admitted that “investigation by law enforcement revealed circumstances consistent with a self-intentioned act” assisted in labeling the death a suicide. Baden explained that it appeared as if the forensic pathologists based the manner of death partly on what police told them.

“That means, ‘The police told me it was a suicide.’ We’re not just rubber stamps for the police, but some people think we are,” he said.

“Usually the GBI is much better than mos. I’m kind of upset that they could call this kind of a case suicide, especially with her being found naked — that’s outrageous.”

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[Featured image: Debbie Collier/Facebook]