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‘They won’t let me go,’ a Georgia mom texted before she was found dead. There’s no evidence she was kidnapped, authorities say

Deborrah Collier’s partially burned, naked body was found in the woods near a Georgia state road on Sept. 11.
/ Source: NBC News

Authorities in Georgia said Wednesday there’s no evidence suggesting a missing Georgia mother who was found dead earlier this month was kidnapped — despite a chilling text message to her daughter indicating that she was possibly being held against her will.

Investigators have also found no evidence linking the death of Deborrah Collier, 59, to suicide, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Collier’s partially burned, naked body was found Sept. 11 in the woods off the side of a road in north Georgia, roughly an hour from her home in Athens, an incident report shows.

Collier’s last known communication was a text message to her daughter saying: “They won’t let me go, there is a key to the house underneath a flower pot,” according to the report. 

Collier had also sent $2,385 to her daughter through Venmo, the release says.

Neither the sheriff’s office nor Collier’s daughter immediately responded to requests for comment.

On Sept. 11, authorities in Habersham County were alerted that Collier’s vehicle, a late model van, was linked to a missing persons report filed in Clark County, according to the report.

Deputies found the van a short time later on the side of a state road in Clarksville, the report says.

A police officer from a nearby department who also responded to the scene told a deputy that he saw the van in the same spot the day before and described the area as a place where vehicles often pull over.

The van was empty and unlocked, according to the report. After a K9 search in nearby woods, officers found a red tote bag on its side near an uprooted tree, the report says.

They saw what appeared to be the remains of a fire and partially burnt blue tarp, the report says. Nearby, they found a naked woman lying on her back, grasping a small tree with her right hand, the report says.

Her abdomen appeared to have been burned, the report says.

The sheriff’s office said an autopsy of Collier’s body was being conducted by a state crime lab.

The news release described the investigation into Collier’s death as ongoing and said authorities had executed search warrants at locations directly tied to her. Investigators have also talked with people close to Collier, the release says. 

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