Agents from the FBI have moved to work alongside local law enforcement officials regarding the death of Debbie Collier, a mother from Georgia whose charred remains were found back in mid-September.
Up to this point, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) has been in charge of the investigation into the death of COllier, but as of late last week, the FBI has officially stepped in.
“The FBI is assisting our law enforcement partners,” explained Tony Thomas, a spokesperson for the Atlanta FBI Bureau, last week, as reported by one local news outlet Now Habersham. Thomas chose not to elaborate on just how the FBI was going to be assisting in the events.
Joey Terrell, the Sheriff of Habersham County claimed that the FBI reached out to them in order to off their assistance in the matter.
“They reached out to us and asked if they could assist and we [said] ‘Yes, absolutely,’” explained Terrel, as reported by Now Habersham. “They were filled in on everything that we have so far, and that was just yesterday.”
The HSCO could have handed the case over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation outright but chose to instead handle the investigation personally. Terrell went on to state that his office was still supervising the investigation and that the GBI, along with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, had been helping with the case since it started.
“We are not alone in trying to solve it,” stated Terrell.
Back near the end of September, police officials were able to release a clip of surveillance footage showing Collier going into a Clayton, Georgia Family Dollar Store on Saturday, September 10th. In the released video, she was alone. A later press release from the HCSO’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) stated that collier went into the store on the 10th of September at roughly 2:55 p.m. local time and left the store at 3:09 p.m. local time. While in the store itself, Collier seemed calm and “not in fear of anything,” explained CID via their release. Authorities stated that in the store she bought a rain poncho, a refillable torch lighter, paper towels, a large tarp, and a reusable tote back.
Collier was discovered in a ravine some 60 miles from her home located in Athens, Georgia on the 11th of September, sporting severe burns across her body and the remnants of a torched tarp close by. The office of the Sheriff for Habersham County stated in its release incident report that the investigators “observed a nude female laying on her back, grasping a small tree with her right hand,” roughly 30 feet from the roadside. The report also stated that the body showed extreme “charring to her abdomen.”
Police officials were able to utilize the Sirius XM satellite radio located in Collier’s SUV to track where she went in the wake of leaving her home that fateful Saturday. They were able to track the car to just off U.S. 441, some 60 miles to the north of Collier’s home, and called in the Habersham County Sheriff’s office to investigate. Making use of K-9 units, officers were able to comb through the nearby woods and discover the womans remains deep in a ravine that did not have a line of sight to the roadway, as reported by WXIA-TV.