HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. (TCD) -- A missing 59-year-old woman was found dead, partially burned, and holding onto part of a tree one day after she reportedly sent her daughter a concerning text message.
According to WSB-TV, Deborah Collier was last seen at her Athens, Georgia, home Sept. 10, by her husband, Steven Collier, when they went to bed. The two reportedly slept in different bedrooms due to his snoring.
On Sept. 10 at approximately 3 p.m., Deborah and Steven’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, allegedly received a $2,385 Venmo deposit from Deborah with the message, "They are not going to let me go love you there is a key in the house in the blue flower pot by the door."
WXIA-TV reports Deborah was driving a rental car when she disappeared, and SiriusXM reportedly helped pinpoint the vehicle’s exact location, which was in Habersham County and about 60 miles away from where she lived.
According to the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office incident report provided by WAGA-TV, deputies found her car unlocked and unoccupied near a logging road close to the woods on Sept. 11 at around 1 p.m. Soon after, Bearden showed up and spoke with deputies. Bearden reportedly told officials Deborah "did not have any history of any mental health issues" and denied any suicidal tendencies.
Bearden said her mom had a bad back and "couldn’t have walked far."
A K9 arrived at the scene and investigators began searching for her. As deputies made their way into the woods, a Habersham County sergeant found a red tote bag near an uprooted tree. As he made his way closer to the tree, he "observed what appeared to be the remains of a fire," as well as a "partially burnt blue in color tarp."
Then, as he kept looking into the wooded embankment, the sergeant "observed a nude female laying on her back, grasping a small tree with her right hand."
The woman was "obviously deceased" and was identified as Deborah Collier. Her remains were reportedly "burned with what appeared to be charring to her abdomen."
WSB reports her death is being investigated as a homicide and her cause of death is still pending. According to WAGA, however, investigators are not looking into her death as a suicide or kidnapping-related.