September 27, 2022
This post contains descriptions of death, reader discretion is advised.
Fifty-nine-year-old Debbie Todd Collier disappeared on September 10, 2022, after sending her daughter a Venmo payment of $2,385 with an accompanying message that read:
They are not going to let me go, Love you. There is a key to the house in the blue flowerpot by the door.
Concerned, her daughter, Amanda Bearden, called Collier’s phone, but she did not answer. Later attempts to call Collier’s phone by law enforcement went straight to voicemail. Both Bearden and her father reported Debbie missing following the cryptic Venmo message and cash transfer.
The missing woman had last been seen at her home in Clarke County, Georgia on September 9, 2022, and had disappeared with only her debit card and driver’s license.
According to her daughter, Debbie did not have any history of mental illness, nor any history of vanishing. Debbie had been working the same job in her position as a front office manager for Carriage House Realty in Athens for several years.
The next day, on the afternoon of September 11, at around 12:30pm, Debbie Collier’s 2022 Chrysler Pacifica rental car was triangulated to the area of Victory Home Lane in Clarkesville, around an hour drive from her home in Athens, Clarke County. Witnesses in the area said that they had noticed the vehicle had been sitting there for at least a day prior, but did not find it suspicious as it was parked in a layover and could have broken down.
Debbie Collier was not inside the vehicle when it was found by an officer, but it had been left unlocked at a pull off area leading down an old logging road. Bearden arrived at the scene, concerned, and crying, assuring officers that her mother could not have strayed far from her vehicle, as she was only able to walk short distances due to a back problem.
Sgt. Ethan Neal of the Habersham County Sheriff's Office and Dakota Foster of the Tallulah Falls Police Department responded, followed by a K9 unit who assisted them with their search for the missing woman. It was only a matter of time before they began discovering a string of evidence that would lead them to Collier’s charred body.
At first, they spotted a red tote bag that stood out against the forest floor, followed by what was left of a long-burned out fire. As they descended an embankment, they discovered the remains of a blue tarp which appeared to have been burned, and not far from the tarp, the burned and naked body of Debbie Collier.
Sargent Ethan Neal approached Collier’s body and noticed her charred abdomen and the fingers of her right hand clasped around a small tree. Her body was positioned to be lying down on her back.
Sgt. Neal announced the crime scene and returned to his vehicle to report his discovery. The area was soon taped off and a crime log was opened at 3:05pm. Collier’s Chrysler was towed from the scene and logged as evidence and her body was removed from the scene by local Fire and EMS personnel to be examined by county coroner Kenneth Franklin. The body is reportedly now in the hands of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and has been sent to the GBI Crime Lab for autopsy.
Although details of the scene have not been released to the public, and have been redacted on police incident records, media outlets report that the death is being treated as a homicide by investigators.
Although the Venmo message sent from Collier’s account before she was found dead may suggest otherwise, investigators have stated that, thus far, there is no evidence to suggest the 59-year-old was kidnapped, nor was her death thought to be a suicide.
Investigators also announced that they had obtained warrants to gain access to places frequented and familiar to the victim, and that they have also canvassed and interviewed close friends, family, and acquaintances in their search for information.
Currently, there are no suspects or persons of interest in the case, but an ex-boyfriend of Amanda Bearden has been a topic of conversation regarding the case recently.
Media outlets have revealed that in May of 2021, Bearden's ex-boyfriend, an MMA fighter named Andrew Giegerich, sent a note threatening the entire family, writing: If you or your family ever come near me again I will hurt them.
Police documents state that the man was accused of breaking into Bearden's home in 2021 and both verbally and physically assaulted her, leaving bruises and abrasions on her skin as well as the note scrawled in a notebook in green pen. Giegerich was subsequently arrested for battery along with other charges. Bearden was reportedly also charged for allegedly falsely reporting the break-in as the pair were said to live together at the time and had a tumultuous relationship that lasted a couple of years. Charges had been filed back and forth against both Bearden and Giegerich. According to reports, Bearden had a history of verbal altercations with several ex-boyfriends - one that in 2012, ended in a disorderly conduct charge, twelve months’ probation, and a mandatory anger management course.
Anyone with information pertaining to the investigation is urged to contact The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Cale Garrison at (706) 839-0559 or Investigator George Cason at (706) 839-0560.
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