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Mysterious death of missing Athens woman was 'personal,' deputies say

As of now, Habersham County sheriff's deputies said there is no evidence that this was a kidnapping or a suicide.

HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. — The Habersham County Sheriff's office held a press conference on Friday to provide an update on Debbie Collier, the missing Athens woman who was found dead on Sept. 11.

Officials said they do not have any information or evidence showing this was a random crime. They are currently obtaining search warrants and reviewing footage from surveillance cameras in the area. 

Earlier this week, 11Alive obtained surveillance footage from the Family Dollar store in Clayton that shows Collier buying a blue tarp, red tote bag, poncho, torch lighter and paper towels. Deputies confirmed that she was at the store around 3:09 p.m., then stayed in her car for 10 minutes before heading down the road. 

Investigators said that it would take "significantly longer" to solve the crime due to the complexities of the case. 

"There's no evidence that shows that this was something random," deputies said on Friday and added that "We believe that this act was deliberate and personal."

According to investigators, a photo was released from a camera. Collier was seen driving northbound on GA-15, which was right near the crime scene. The tarp and tote bag were found near her body, with the tarp partially burned. The store is about 13 miles from where investigators say they found her body.

Collier's body was found naked and partially burnt down an embankment near Tallulah Gorge, according to investigators. The cause of death is still being determined and was not released on Friday. 

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." 

Deputies said they have not confirmed that this message came from Collier, but they have the mother's phone. 

You can watch the entire press conference live here:



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