An autopsy report reveals that Debbie Collier, a mother and Georgia resident, suffered burns on most of her body. Though initial reports noted Collier had burns on her abdomen, the recent autopsy report noted that Collier had “second and third-degree burns involving 80% of the total body surface area.”
The finding puts earlier reports that she died by suicide into question.
RTM previously reported Collier’s naked and burned body was found in September about 60 miles north of her Athens home. Authorities found the mother of two in a wooded ravine in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
In mid-November, Habersham County Deputy Coroner Ken Franklin announced that Collier died from “inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries, and hydrocodone intoxication,” according to the local news outlet Now Habersham.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has overseen the monthslong investigation into Collier’s unexpected death.
Family members reported Collier missing on Sept. 10 after cryptically sending her daughter Amanda a Venmo payment for $2,385 with the message: “They are not going to let me go, love you.”
The GBI report noted that the “autopsy examination revealed thermal injuries of the external body surface and of the tracheal mucosa (windpipe), no deposited soot in the airway, and no significant elevation of blood carboxyhemoglobin. …These findings may be due to a sudden, intense ‘flash’ fire” as well as the outdoor environment of the fire.
The recently released autopsy report leads to more questions than answers. Many wonder why Collier was naked and why her burns indicate a flash fire?
Officials found a “melted gas can” near Collier’s body but are not sure that can explain the flash fire that led to her death or why police found her some distance from a burn area, holding the base of a small tree.
Though significant questions remain, the autopsy report noted that the “investigation by law enforcement revealed circumstances consistent with a self-intentioned act and that she was alone at the time of the incident.”
Collier, 59, lived with her husband Steve in Athens, Georgia, and worked for a real estate agency. In September, Georgia police depicted Collier’s death as “personal and targeted.” Police never identified any suspects in connection with Collier’s death.
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