Debbie Collier, a 59-year-old Georgia woman, disappeared on September 10 after leaving her daughter a chilling message. Investigators located her remains the following day in a wooded area by her abandoned rental vehicle.
Amanda Bearden, Collier’s daughter, told authorities that her mother sent her $2,385 on Venmo along with a message that – according to the police report – read something to the effect of “they won’t let me go, there is a key to the house underneath a flower pot.”
Bearden informed police that her mother only brought her driver’s license and debit card with her, according to Now Habersham. Collier’s daughter said she made several unsuccessful calls to her mother that evening.
Habersham County law enforcement worked with SiriusXM to track Collier’s rental van. On September 11, police located the van pulled off the highway on an old logging road near a wooded area. The vehicle was locked and unoccupied, police reported.
Bearden arrived at the scene and confirmed that the van was her mother’s rental vehicle. She told authorities that her mother could not have walked far from the vehicle because she had a bad back.
A K-9 unit was brought to the scene to help locate Collier. During their search, police found a red tote bag and the remains of a fire. Officers also discovered a charred blue tarp as they looked farther down the embankment.
Deputies continued their search and reported finding the body of a naked female. Police said she was found laying on her back with her hand grasping a small tree. The woman appeared to have been burned around her abdomen and was “obviously deceased.” Officers identified the remains as the missing mother.
Authorities have not released the circumstances surrounding Collier’s death, but the investigation is being treated as a homicide. At this time, no suspects have been identified. The state medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine Collier’s cause of death.
“Over the past several weeks, actions have been taken to further the investigation and collect evidence that might lead to possible suspect identification,” the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office said.