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Disturbing new details behind mysterious disappearance, death of Athens woman found in woods

Investigators discovered a burnt blue tarp, as well as the body of a naked woman grabbing a small tree with her hand.

HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. — A newly released police report reveals chilling new details about the disappearance of a once-missing Athens mother found dead in Habersham County. 

Debbie Collier's body was discovered in a wooded area near Tallulah Falls the day after she went missing. A police report indicates the 59-year-old's car was actually spotted there a day before she was found. The report showed Athens-Clarke County Police worked with Habersham County investigators on Sept. 11 to find Collier's rented minivan, which had been pinged using XM satellite radio. 

The report states the vehicle was unlocked and no one was inside. According to the report, Collier's daughter told investigators her mother did not have any history of mental health issues and denied any suicidal tendencies. She also stated that her mother had a bad back, and she could not have walked far.

Investigators said they saw a red tote bag near an uprooted tree in the woods off Georgia Highway 15, where Collier's body was found. They also saw what they believe were the remains of a fire. The report states investigators discovered a burnt blue tarp down in a ravine, as well as the body of a naked woman laying on her back, grabbing a small tree with her right hand. That woman was later identified as Collier.

RELATED: Mystery of Athens woman’s disappearance, homicide continues 1 week after family’s disturbing missing person's report

The day the Athens mother and realty office manager went missing, her daughter told police that her mother sent nearly $2,400 to her through Venmo, along with a message saying, "They are not going to let me go, love you."

Collier's daughter said her mother had left home with only her driver's license and debit card. Investigators are still working to find out who killed Collier, dumped her body in the woods and why. The Habersham County Sheriff's Office sent out a release late Wednesday afternoon, stating they had executed search warrants at locations directly tied to Collier and conducted interviews with those close to her. 

RELATED: Body of missing Athens woman found near highway in Habersham County

The Sheriff's Office said they were working to identify persons of interest. Evidence from the scene was gathered and given to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for analysis, and Collier's body was sent to the GBI for an autopsy.

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