Debbie Collier’s death: Daughter says her mom took her own life

Police have still not revealed the cause of death in a case that has captured the nation’s attention
The body of the Athens wife, mother and businesswoman was found Sept. 11, 2022.
The body of the Athens wife, mother and businesswoman was found Sept. 11, 2022.(WANF)
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 1:51 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2022 at 2:50 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The daughter of Debbie Collier, the Athens woman whose mysterious disappearance and death has captured the nation’s attention, said this week she believes her mother took her own life.

Appearing during a YouTube live stream of the “Crime on the Record” podcast, Amanda Bearden said her mother had begun “giving me all of her things” and “had taken the whole week off” before she disappeared.

“No one saw her on Friday” before Collier disappeared, Bearden said during the Wednesday evening podcast. She recounted “there were actions” Collier took that, looking back, now seems “weird” to Bearden.

“She was dealing with stuff that she didn’t want to burden me with,” Bearden said. The podcast was the first time Bearden has publicly said she believes her mom committed suicide.

Collier was first reported missing around 6 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2022, by her husband, Steven Collier. Hours earlier, Collier sent $2,385 to Bearden on Venmo with a message:

Message Collier's daughter told police she received from her mother.
Message Collier's daughter told police she received from her mother.(WGCL)

Bearden said she did not speak with her mother on that Saturday.

Collier was last seen on surveillance video in a Clayton Family Dollar store, where she purchased a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, a two-roll pack of paper towels, a 7.5x9.5 OBD Tarp, and a reusable tote bag. After leaving the Rabun County store at 3:09 p.m., she remained in her vehicle, apparently alone, for 10 minutes before leaving.

Collier’s body was found around 3 p.m. the next day after her rented black Chrysler Pacifica van was found at the entrance of an old logging road in Habersham County.

RELATED: Deborrah Collier’s disappearance and death: A timeline

Habersham County investigators have released three 911 calls that reported Collier missing.

The first call reporting Collier missing came from her husband, Steven, around 6 p.m. on Sept. 10. The second call is from Bearden, who was calling police to offer some more information on her mother’s disappearance. The third came from Collier’s sister, Diane Shirley, who lives in Alabama.

ORIGINAL STORY: Missing Athens woman’s body found in northeast Georgia

Habersham County investigators initially said they believe Collier’s death was a deliberate act and not random. But Jeffrey Bearden, Collier’s son, has since told Atlanta News First he has little confidence in the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office and is filing a formal complaint to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation over the local agency’s handling of the case.

No arrests have been made so far, and police have not released a cause of death. The FBI has joined the investigation into Collier’s death.