The homicide investigation into the death of Georgia mom Debbie Collier has ended after autopsy results revealed that she died by suicide.
Collier left the home she shared with her husband, Steve, on September 10. Later that day, she sent her daughter, 36-year-old Amanda Bearden, a chilling text that said, “They are not going to let me go, love you.” Collier also sent Bearden $2,385 over Venmo.
In late September, police released surveillance footage of Collier entering the Family Dollar Store in Clayton, Georgia, on Saturday, September 10. She was alone in the video. The HCSO’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) said in a press release on September 26 that Collier entered the store on September 10 around 2:55 p.m. and exited at 3:09 p.m. While there, Collier appeared calm and “not in fear of anything,” the CID said in its press release. Authorities said she purchased a rain poncho, a refillable torch lighter, paper towels, a large tarp, and a reusable tote back.
Collier was found in a ravine 60 miles from her Athens, Georgia, home on September 11, with severe burns to her body and the remains of a burned tarp nearby, The Daily Wire previously reported. The Habersham County Sheriff’s office said in its incident report that an investigator “observed a nude female laying on her back, grasping a small tree with her right hand,” about 30 feet from the road. The report also said Collier had “charring to her abdomen.”
Her death had been treated as a homicide until now, with Habersham County Deputy Coroner Ken Franklin telling Now Habersham that Collier died from “inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries, and hydrocodone intoxication.”
“It’s pretty evident that she started the fire. From what I saw and what I considered to be the case is that this was a self-inflicted death, but I was relying on the results of the autopsy and the doctor at the lab to make the final call,” Franklin said.
Franklin also told the outlet that he spoke to family members before releasing the results of the autopsy to the public.
“I’m glad it’s over, but I’m sorry for the family and all that they have had to go through,” he said. “All of the questioning and suspicion and things they’ve had to go through made it difficult for them to live a normal life. I feel sorry for them and my prayers go with them.”
While speaking to the podcast “Crime on the Record,” Collier’s daughter Amanda said that she should have noticed her mother was suicidal.
“Looking back on it, it just almost seemed like she was giving me all of her things,” Bearden told the podcast.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.