Video: Mother found dead after sending cryptic message, cash went to Clayton store day before death

HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. — The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office said that an Athens mother whose burned body was found in Habersham County earlier this month visited a Family Dollar store the day before she died.

Deborrah Collier, 59, was found dead Sept. 11 after police say she sent her daughter more than $3,000 on Venmo with a message saying “they aren’t going to let me go,” and instructions on where to find a house key.

Collier was found burned and naked in a wooded area of Habersham County on Sept. 11. around 1 p.m. The area she was found was about 13 miles away from the Family Dollar.

Police initially said they were investigating her death as a homicide. They now say it is a death investigation.


New surveillance video shows Collier enter a Family Dollar in Clayton at 2:55 p.m. Sept. 10, where she stayed for about 15 minutes. According to store receipts, Collier bought a rain poncho, a refillable torch lighter, a two-roll pack of paper towels, a large tarp and a reusable tote bag.

“In the video, the victim appears to be calm and not in fear of anything,” deputies said. “All video footage obtained from the store and surrounding businesses reflect that the victim was alone in the van at the time she visited the store. "

Investigators said the video helps them narrow the window for Collier’s death to sometime between 3:09 p.m. Saturday to 12:44 p.m. Sunday.

Deputies initially said they got a tip that Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, was at the Family Dollar store on the 10th. Investigators, however, determined that Bearden was not at the store.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington talked to Deborah Lefevre, a regular shopper at the store, who said she’d never seen Collier there before.

“What would she do with that stuff unless she planned on going camping?” Lefevre said. “There’s something very strange about it.”

Washington also spoke to a worker off camera, who said that Collier seemed fine.

“It’s a tragedy,” Lefevre said. “I just hope they catch whoever did this to her.”

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.