Georgia real estate office manager Debbie Collier’s son is speaking out for the first time after his mother’s shocking death earlier this month, as investigators race to find a suspect.
Jeffrey Bearden, Collier’s son, told Fox News Digital on Saturday that his mother was the kindest, greatest influence on his life and asked for “respect and privacy” as his family deals with the traumatic news of her murder.
“[I] am writing to request respect and privacy during the darkest and most harrowing time for my family,” Bearden wrote. “I have been incredibly hurt and disturbed by some of the reporting and information shared regarding the investigation into my mother’s death.”
Habersham County deputies found Collier’s remains down an embankment on Sept. 11, a day after her husband, Steven Collier, and daughter, Amanda Bearden, reported her missing from neighboring Clarke County. As of Saturday evening, there had been no arrests in the case.
A crime scene report includes gruesome details about her final moments. Investigators found her naked and burned, with “charring” on her abdomen, clutching at a tree down an embankment a quarter mile from her abandoned vehicle, a day after police said she sent her 36-year-old daughter a $2,385 payment using the Venmo app and a bizarre message that suggested she was being held against her will. Investigators however, publicly ruled out both kidnapping and suicide last week.
“I ask that all attention on the tragic story of my mother’s death remain focused on aiding the police investigation,” Jeffrey Bearden said Saturday.
He asked for privacy and for an end to online guesswork until police complete their investigation.
“There is no place for the court of public opinion in the pursuit of justice for my mother, and this speculation continues to be traumatic and hurtful for my family during the most difficult time we have experienced,” he said.
His mother, he said, was an amazing woman.
“I will never be able to fully articulate the loss of my mother and what she meant to me,” Bearden said Saturday. “She was my longest source of love, support, and encouragement. My mother was a very, vibrant and strong soul. She was a person who valued kindness, empathy, and understanding throughout her entire life. She went through life recognizing the beauty and grace in everything she saw and experienced around her.”
Collier worked as a real estate office manager with Carriage House Realty in her hometown of Athens, Georgia. Reached by text message, a colleague deferred questions to the office’s main line, where calls went unanswered Saturday.
“Daily life was filled with joy and beauty,” Bearden said. “She spent her time enjoying and making art. She valued listening to, dancing, and singing along with her favorite music. My mother consumed herself with the holidays, as her focus remained on family and the value of being together over a home cooked meal.”
Collier was generous throughout the holidays, he added, and each year, “would shower her family with thoughtful gifts and gestures.”
“My mother was persistent in her love throughout my entire life, and I will persist until she is given the justice she deserves,” Bearden continued. “Our lives have been irrevocably changed. Our grief is here, and our pain is deep. Again, that is why I am asking you to please respect our privacy while we learn to cope and adjust with our loss.”
Police have served several search warrants in the case but have not publicly identified any suspect or person of interest. Anyone with information on Collier’s case is asked to contact Habersham Sheriff’s Investigators Cale Garrison or George Cason at 706-839-0559 or 706-839-0560, respectively.