The cause of death of Debbie Collier, the Georgia mother who sent a cryptic text to her daughter alongside a sum of money, has reportedly been ruled a suicide.
This week, the state medical examiner determined the cause of death after an autopsy. The results found Collier died from “inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries, and hydrocodone intoxication,” Habersham County Deputy Coroner Ken Franklin told local news outlet Now Habersham.
Collier’s naked and partially burned body was found about 60 miles north of her Athens home in September in a wooded ravine in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
Her death was originally believed to be a homicide, but Franklin said the autopsy results match up to what he saw at the scene.
“It’s pretty evident that she started the fire,” Franklin told the news outlet. “From what I saw and what I considered to be the case is that this was a self-inflicted death, but I was relying on the results of the autopsy and the doctor at the lab to make the final call.”
The ruling comes after Collier’s daughter, Amanda Bearden, recently told the “Crime on the Record” podcast during a special livestream that she believed her mother killed herself.
Bearden, 36, reported Collier missing Sept. 10 after she said her mother sent her a Venmo payment of more than $2,300 along with a chilling note.
“They are not going to let me go love you there is a key to the house in the blue flowerpot by the door,” Collier wrote.
“She was dealing with stuff that she didn’t want to burden me with,” Bearden said of her late mother while on the podcast.
Collier’s mysterious death was regarded with significant suspicion, in part due to the fact that the amount that Collier sent to her daughter was “very close” to the amount that Bearden’s boyfriend, Andrew Giegerich, owed in fines to the Athens-Clarke County Probation Department.
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