The state medical examiner's office released the cause of death for Georgia mother Debbie Collier, whose partially burned body was discovered in a wooded area in September after she sent a cryptic text message to her daughter.
On Friday, Habersham County Deputy Coroner Ken Franklin told Now Habersham that Collier died from "inhalation of superheated gases, thermal injuries, and hydrocodone intoxication."
Police previously referred to Collier's mysterious death as "deliberate and personal" and noted that they were treating it as a homicide investigation, despite believing early on that she was not kidnapped.
In a shocking twist following the multi-agency investigation, Collier's death has now been ruled a suicide.
"It's pretty evident that she started the fire. 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," Franklin stated.
Gasoline was found on Collier's clothes, an arson analysis confirmed. Authorities noted that her injuries revealed she was possibly caught in a flash fire caused by gasoline vapors igniting.
Earlier this week, Collier's daughter, 36-year-old Amanda Bearden, broke her silence about her mother's passing on a podcast livestream, "Crime on the Record."
"She was dealing with stuff that she didn't want to burden me with," Bearden stated during the podcast interview.
Bearden noted that the last time she saw her mother, she had shared some "key, intimate things" and was "giving me all of her things." Bearden added that her mother had tears in her eyes the last time they had met and that she had "never seen her that sad."
What's the background?
On September 10, 58-year-old Debbie Collier went missing after sending her daughter $2,385 on Venmo with a message that read, "They are not going to let me go love you there is a key to the house in the blue flowerpot by the door."
The next day, Collier's partially burned body was discovered in a wooded ravine in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Along with her body, police also found a burned tarp and tote bag.
Surveillance video evidence released in late September showed Collier shopping alone at a Family Dollar store on the day of her death. According to authorities, the footage captured Collier purchasing "a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, a 2-roll pack of paper towels, a 7.5x9.5 OBD Tarp, and a reusable tote bag."
The chilling text message sent to her daughter alluded to a possible kidnapping, but authorities were not convinced.
In September, authorities noted that the case was "very complex" and would take significant time to solve.
"We don't believe that this is a random act of violence. We do not believe this was the act of a serial killer," officers stated during a news conference. "We believe that this act was deliberate and personal."