Authorities Rule on Debbie Collier's Cause of Death

'Self-inflicted,' cops say of 59-year-old Georgia woman found dead in September
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2022 1:20 PM CDT
Updated Nov 19, 2022 7:00 AM CST
Woman's Mysterious Death Was 'Deliberate and Personal'
A screenshot of Debbie Collier.   (YouTube)
UPDATE Nov 19, 2022 7:00 AM CST

After a two-month mystery in Georgia that earned headlines around the country, authorities say they now know how Debbie Collier died. "A detailed examination of all gathered information has enabled investigators to determine, based on factual evidence and data, that Mrs. Collier's death was self-inflicted," the Habersham County Sheriff's Office announced in a Friday release about the 59-year-old mother, whose body was found burned and naked in a wooded area in September, per Now Habersham. The release notes that, per the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's medical examiner, Collier's cause of death was "inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries, and hydrocodone intoxication." People reports that, with the case now officially closed, authorities are offering their "deepest sympathies" to Collier's friends and family.

Sep 30, 2022 1:20 PM CDT

Nearly three weeks after the body of Debbie Collier was found in the woods in Georgia, her death remains a mystery. On Friday, deputies with the Habersham County Sheriff's Office held a press conference that didn't shed much new light on the death of the 59-year-old Athens woman, per FOX 5 Atlanta, though there was this statement: "There's no evidence that shows that this was something random. We believe that this act was deliberate and personal." Police found Collier's body in the woods by the side of the road on Sept. 11, but they have no evidence to suggest it was either an abduction or suicide, reports 11Alive.

On Friday, Deputy Murray Kogod said surveillance video shows that Collier spent about 10 minutes in her van in the parking lot of a Family Dollar after buying items including a rain poncho and a tarp the day before her body was discovered. After leaving the parking lot, she headed onto an interstate. Police say that two minutes or so after Collier left the store, her daughter received about $2,400 from her mother's Venmo account, along with a message reading, "They are not going to let me go, love you," per People. Her partially burnt, naked body was found the next day down an embankment, and police say she was clutching a small tree. The cause of death has still not been determined, deputies said Friday. (More Georgia stories.)

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