Mom Debbie Collier, whose body was discovered this month in a ravine in Georgia, was last seen alive on March 11 when she went to a Family Dollar shop to purchase a refillable torch lighter and a tarp, according to reports published on Monday.
The mother, 59 at the time, is seen entering the Clayton, Georgia business on September 10 at 2:55 p.m., while wearing a red shirt with the number “34” and a visor, as seen in surveillance footage obtained by the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office.
One additional video shows her purchasing what the cops call “a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, a 2-roll pack of paper towels, a 7.5×9.5 OBD Tarp, and a reusable tote bag.”
The sheriff’s office noted in a statement to The Daily Beast that the drive lasted around 14 minutes and that “in the video, [Collier] looks to be relaxed and not in fear of anything.” The store’s and neighboring businesses’ surveillance footage “clearly shows that [Collier] was alone in the van at the time she visited the store.”
Bearden, Collier’s daughter, claimed to have received a nearly $2,400 Venmo payment from her mom at around 3:17 p.m. A key to the residence was hidden in a blue flowerpot outside the front entrance, and the note read, “They are not going to let me go love you.”
The video film, investigators said Monday, “narrows the time of death for Collier to a timeframe beginning at 3:09 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 and the discovery of the body on Sunday, September 11 at 12:44 p.m.” Her dead body was found in a ditch not too far from the Family Dollar.
Collier’s death is still being investigated as a homicide, though officials have ruled out kidnapping, as suggested in her last Venmo message. In addition to ruling out suicide, they have documented their suspicion in an incident report that this case is drug-related.
As soon as Bearden got the Venmo message, she reported her mom missing. Debbie’s husband of nine years, Steven Collier, was interviewed by authorities on September 10, according to a missing persons report filed in Athens-Clarke County. After going to bed at 9 o’clock on September 9, he told police, he had not seen his wife again. He said that Collier’s rented SUV was still sitting in the driveway when he departed for work that morning.
The report reads, “He explained that he and Deborrah use different bedrooms because of his snoring.” The behavior in question is out of character for Deborrah, as both Amanda and Steven have pointed out. Nothing like this has ever happened to her before.
Bearden informed police that her mother “denied any suicidal tendencies and did not have a history of mental health concerns,” per the official report. Additionally, she mentioned that her mother had a poor back and was unable to walk very far.
On Wednesday, police claimed they “were given information” that Bearden, who has an extensive criminal history, was at a Family Dollar on the day her mother disappeared. However, it was Collier, not her daughter, who walked into the store, as confirmed by the clerk.
On September 11th, Collier’s car was discovered parked next to an abandoned logging road about an hour distant from her residence in Athens. According to the event report, she was discovered “lying on her back, gripping a small tree with her right hand” close to a burned tarp, a red total bag, and the rental car she had been driving.
Jeffrey Bearden, Collier’s son, “demanded respect and privacy during the darkest and most harrowing moment for my family” in a statement released on Saturday and obtained by The Daily Beast. He also begged the media to refrain from publishing “speculation.”
Mother’s love for me lasted my entire life, and I intend to do the same until she is treated fairly. Everything has changed for us forever,” Bearden continued. Our sorrow is present, and our suffering is great.