On Friday, Georgia investigators released new video evidence related to the mysterious death of Debbie Collier earlier this month. Police revealed that her death was “deliberate and personal” but that they do not believe she was kidnapped.
On Friday morning, investigators held their first news conference regarding the Habersham County case.
Collier disappeared on September 10, and her burned remains were discovered in a ravine the following day. Police also retrieved a burned tarp and tote bag near her body. Around the time of her disappearance, Collier sent her daughter over $2,000 on Venmo with a text message that read, “they aren’t going to let me go.”
Later that day, Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, reported her mother missing. Deputies confirmed that Bearden received the text and the money from her mother on Venmo, but they could not say where the money went.
Authorities released a surveillance video showing Collier shopping alone in a Family Dollar store shortly before her murder. The footage captured the woman purchasing “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,” according to police.
“In the video, [Collier] appears to be calm and not in fear of anything,” the sheriff’s office told the Daily Beast. “All video footage obtained from the store and surrounding businesses reflect that [Collier] was alone in the van at the time she visited the store.”
Authorities confirmed that security footage also captured Collier exiting the store and returning to her rental van in the parking lot. Deputies said that she remained in the parking lot inside her vehicle for another 10 minutes before driving away at 3:19 p.m.
Bearden reportedly received the text and money from her mother at 3:17 p.m. At this time, deputies cannot confirm that Collier was the one who sent that message.
While the contents of the text message alluded to a kidnapping situation, authorities said they are confident it was not.
“As far as this investigation goes, it seems like once we get on track with something, a curveball comes out of nowhere,” said the lead investigator on the case.
“We don’t believe that this is a random act of violence. We do not believe this was the act of a serial killer,” officers stated during the news conference. “We believe that this act was deliberate and personal.”
Deputies are currently waiting on the results of the autopsy before they can reveal Collier’s cause of death. Police also stated that they are waiting on several search warrants and subpoenas. At this time, no suspects have been announced.
“Please understand that this case is very complex in nature and has a lot of questions and unknowns that are not typical for a death investigation,” deputies said. “It’s going to take significantly more time than the 19 days that have passed to solve this crime.”