The death of Georgia mom Debbie Collier, who was found naked and burned in a ravine, has been ruled a suicide.
Collier was last seen on September 10 when she left her Athens home en route to Clarksville, approximately 60 miles away.
The next day, the 59-year-old real estate agent’s body was found naked and partially burned in a wooded ravine near Tallulah Falls – with her purse and cell phone nearby.
Collier’s horrific death was initially feared to have been the result of a homicide.
But this week, it was revealed that the Georgia Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled Collier’s death a suicide, having suffered ‘inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries, and hydrocodone intoxication,’ according to Habersham County Deputy Coroner Ken Franklin.
Franklin added: ‘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.’
Last week, Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, told the Crime on the Record podcast that she believed her mother had taken her own life.
She told the hosts that her mother had begun to share ‘key, intimate things’ with her in the weeks leading up to her death and said: ‘Looking back on it, it just almost seemed like she was giving me all of her things.’
Bearden added that the last time she saw her mother alive, her mother had ‘tears in her eyes. I’d never seen her that sad.’
Franklin told the New Habersham: ‘I’m glad it’s over, but I’m sorry for the family and all that they have had to go through. 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.’
On September 30, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release providing a timeline of the crime, and released surveillance video.
The footage shows Collier browsing a Family Dollar in Clayton on September 10, the day before her partially burned body was discovered.
In the video she is seen purchasing items including, a tarp, a refillable torch light, reusable tote bag, two-roll pack of paper towels, and a rain poncho.
Collier’s concerned son questioned why his mom would drive to a Dollar store when there was a Dollar General a half mile from her home in Athens.
He also said he’d never known her to be a camper, and pointed out the family home has numerous tarps and reusable bags, since his stepfather works in construction.
He also made a chilling remark that the blonde-haired woman with red visor, doesn’t even look his mother.
‘I have a lot of concerns about if that was my mom in that actual video because that doesn’t actually appear of like her posture,’ he said, 11 Alive News reported.