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Video | Athens woman bought items found next to body hours before she was found dead

Debbie Collier was seen on surveillance video buying items found near her body at the Family Dollar store 13 miles away from the crime scene.

CLARKESVILLE, Ga. — The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office said Debbie Collier was seen inside the Family Dollar Store in Clayton, Georgia, on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 2:55 p.m.

In the store's surveillance video, detectives confirm through the store receipt Collier purchased a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, a 2-roll pack of paper towels, a 7.5x9.5 OBD Tarp, and a reusable tote bag. 

In an incident report obtained by 11Alive, the deputy who found Collier's body on Sept. 11 stated he found a red tote bag on its side, along with a partially burnt blue in color tarp. 

Esther Kreller on Monday said she was the clerk seen in the video checking Collier out at the Family Dollar. 

"I do remember her I remember checking her out but I really don’t remember what we talked about," Kreller explained. 

She added that Collier didn't seem to be in trouble, "She didn't seem in distress or anything." 

Kreller also said the items Collier bought aren't out of the ordinary.

"It's a common thing people buy. We were going to put up the tarps for the winter but then my boss said no because people buy them year around. Oh yeah, the big bags yeah people buy those a lot to put stuff in like reusable grocery bags," Kreller explained.

The store in Clayton, Georgia, is about 13 miles from where Collier's body was found on Sept. 11. 

The sheriff's office said this new video has allowed investigators to narrow the time of death to a window beginning at 3:09 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 to the discovery of the body on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 12:44 p.m.

While at the time, Kreller didn't think anything was off she now reflects on those few moments she interacted with Collier inside the store.

"It still gives me the chills bc like nothing looked suspicious or out of the ordinary or went outside and seen if anyone was with her but who would’ve thought. I just don’t think she was alone but it’s not like she could’ve done it herself," Kreller said. 

The Habersham County Sheriff's Office said Monday night all surveillance video obtained from the store and surrounding businesses reflect that the victim (Collier) was alone in the van at the time she visited the store.

Last week, the sheriff's office also said, "At this time, there is no evidence to suggest or support that this incident was related to a kidnapping or that this was a suicide." 

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Investigator Cale Garrison at (706) 839-0559 or Investigator George Cason at (706) 839-0560.


Sept. 9 | Debbie Collier's husband said the last time he saw her was around 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. 

Sept. 10 | Surveillance video shows Collier in Clayton, Georgia, at 2:55 p.m. the next day. Twenty minutes later at 3:17 p.m., Collier's daughter said her mom sent her a Venmo payment of nearly $2,400 with a cryptic message saying in part, "They are not going to let me go, Love you."

At 6 p.m., Collier's husband files a missing person's report. 

Sept. 11 | On Sept. 11 around 12:30 p.m., Collier's rental vehicle was found along with her body nearby.

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