ANOTHER tragedy afflicted the family of slain mom Debbie Collier just weeks before she was found discarded at the side of a road, partially naked and burned.
Barbara Bearden, the stepmom of Debbie's daughter Amanda, died suddenly on July 28 at the age of 62.
The former postal worker, who was married to Debbie's ex-husband Joseph Bearden for more than 15 years, passed away from complications brought on by Covid-19, an obituary reviewed by The U.S. Sun reveals.
"For the ones that knew her best, knew that cooking and family were the two most important things in her life," a tribute to Barbara reads.
"She has always been a caregiver and she gave far more that [sic] she ever received."
No further information has been shared by the family. Joseph Bearden could not be reached for comment.
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Barbara's death came just over a month before Debbie Collier was found dead in a wooded area on the side of a road in Clarkesville, Georgia, on September 11 - meaning Amanda Bearden lost both her mom and stepmom in quick succession.
Amanda was with her stepfather, and Debbie's husband, Steven Collier, when he first reported Debbie missing at around 6pm on September 10.
The call was made more than two-and-a-half hours after Amanda received a strange Venmo payment for $2,385 from her mom's account, which included the message: "They are not going to let me go love you there is a key to the house in the blue flowerpot by the door.”
Debbie was last seen alive at a Family Dollar store in Clayton, some 60 miles from her Athens home, at around 3pm on September 10.
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She purchased several items that would later be found near her remains — a blue tarp, a red tote bag, paper towels, a torch lighter, and a poncho.
A Venmo was sent from Debbie's account to Amanda's at 3.17pm, eight minutes after she was seen leaving the store.
Her phone was switched off two minutes later, and Debbie was then seen leaving the parking lot in her rental car, heading southbound on Route 15.
She was found dead the following day down an embankment in a wooded area along Route 15 around a quarter-mile from her vehicle, which had been abandoned and left unlocked at the side of the road.
Police said Debbie was nude and partially burned, with "charring" on her abdomen and her right hand still clutching a tree.
Precisely how Debbie was killed remains a mystery, with an autopsy on her remains still pending.
Police are also awaiting a report on Debbie's phone activity in the hours and days leading up to her death to explain where she may have been heading and why on the day she was killed.
While many questions remain in the case, police have confidently ruled out suicide and a random act of violence in Debbie's death, insisting her murder was "personal and targeted."
Investigators have not yet publicly identified any persons of interest or suspects in the case but stated they have "not ruled anyone out" at this stage.
In Steve Collier's 911 call reporting Debbie missing, he tells an operator he returned home and "my wife wasn't home, her driver's license still in there, the rental car is gone, and her daughter's here.
"We're kind of worried about what's happening and where she's at. I was wondering if you could send somebody over here," he continued.
In a later portion of the call, he says that Amanda went upstairs into his wife's bedroom and found her purse still inside the home with her driver's license, adding: "The only thing is the phone is gone.
"And she sent her daughter a text about 2 hours ago saying, 'They won't let me go,' - whatever that means, we don't know."
Collier later states that only Debbie's credit card and driver's license were found upstairs, omitting mention of her purse the second time around.
Police later clarified that Debbie's purse was found at the scene of her murder.
It remains unclear if the credit card found in her bedroom was the same card she used to purchase goods at the Family Dollar store when she was last seen alive.
Currently, police have released no evidence to suggest Debbie returned home that afternoon. The distance from her home to where she was found dead is 120 miles round trip.
Three days after Debbie's remains were found, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at Amanda Bearden's home, which she shares with her boyfriend Andrew Giegerich.
Police have not disclosed why that search warrant was actioned and what, if anything, they recovered from the home.
However, speaking to The NY Post, Giegerich disclosed that he, Amanda, and other family members had been "interrogated" by police.
The 27-year-old, a former amateur MMA fighter, also said that investigators had seized his and Amanda's phones.
"They’ve interrogated all of us," he said.
"The people who are closest to [Debbie] are kind of looked at as suspects right now."
Police have not stated that they are treating Giegerich or Amanda as suspects.
Giegerich said that he and Bearden last saw Debbie the day before shedisappeared when she had bought them lunch.
The couple, who are described as being in an on-off relationship, moved to Athens from Maryland just two days before Debbie's disappearance.
In an emotional interview after her mother's body was found, Bearden toldCBS 46: "Somebody took my whole world from me.
“She was a beautiful, kind, giving woman — and she didn’t deserve any of this … I want justice for my mom."
Giegerich has also spoken publicly about Debbie's death, denying any involvement in the murder toFox Newsand insisting he and Bearden were "scared."
“It’s weird,” he added. “I feel like [the Sheriff’s Department] may have some leads but they won’t tell us anything.”
As revealed by The U.S. Sun earlier this week, Giegerich's mom was arrested last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison for trafficking and selling crystal meth.
Vickie Lynn Terrell was caught red-handed attempting to peddle the dangerous drug to an undercover police officer during a sting operation in July 2021.
According to documents obtained byThe U.S. Sun, Terrell, 49, was arrested alongside two others after unwittingly meeting with anundercover copand attempting to sell them two ounces ofmethamphetaminefor $750.
Terrell met with the undercover officer outside of a Dollar General store inStatham, Georgia, on July 19, 2021, and climbed into the passenger seat of their car, telling the cop to "front" her the cash, or pay in advance for the drugs.
When the officer refused, Terrell led them to a nearby gas station where two of her associates were waiting in ablue Toyota Scion.
When Terrell entered the other vehicle, a takedown signal was given by another officer waiting nearby and all three occupants of the blue Toyota were taken into custody by the Barrow County Sheriff's Office SWAT team.
An additional bag of meth was found discarded beneath the car.
Terrell quickly confessed to her role in the crime and she was later issued a sentence of 30 years in prison for possessing, trafficking, and selling methamphetamine.
She began her sentence in December last year and won't be considered for release until at least 2036, court documents show.
Prior to her arrest, Terrell had been an avid supporter of her son's amateur mixed-martial-arts fighting career, even serving as the admin of hisFacebookfan page,Andrew "The Gladiator" Giegerich.
Giegerich and Amanda Bearden have also both had various run-ins with police over the years, including domestic violence incidents involving one another.
Most recently, Giegerich was arrested in September 2021 for violating a no-contact order and banging on the front door of Bearden's home, accusing her of stealing money from him for drugs.
Bearden called police and complainedthat Giegerich, whom she had broken up with and kicked out, arrived around 8.30am and began "beating on the door and yelling," according to an incident report.
In recently-released bodycam footage, Giegerich responds by telling officers that she’d been stealing his paychecks to buy "dope."
"I didn’t have a phone because my phone broke, so this is the dumbest mistake I’ve ever [made,] we linked our cards together so she can send herself money from my card," he tells the officers. "The first person to touch my money is her."
"That's the only reason we've had any contact because every week she takes $500 or $600 from my check, and I just don't see how that's right," Giegerich tells police when asked why he violated the no-contact order.
"And she goes and does dope with my money," he adds. "She's probably on drugs right now."
The no-contact order Giegerich violated stemmed from another domestic dispute months earlier in May 2021, in which he also allegedly threatened Bearden's family in a hand-scrawled note.
"Have a nice life you lying ass b***h. Don’t ever contact me again!!!" Giegerich was accused of writing.
“If you or your family ever come near me again I will hurt them."
According to police documents from that incident, Bearden claimed that Giegerich had broken into her home and attacked her.
The report notes that Bearden had bruises on her shoulders and arms.
Giegerich was arrested and charged with a number of offenses, including battery.
He was also ordered to stay away from Bearden, who was also arrested and charged at the same time for making a false police report by claiming Giegerich had broken into their home when they actually lived together.
After the incident, a fast-track arraignment was made for him in June 2021, noting it was his “second or subsequent arrest for a family violence offense.”
He was banned from contacting Bearden, before violating that order three months later.
Also in September 2021, Giegerich was arrested for misdemeanor DUI,reckless driving, marijuana possession, failure to wear a seatbelt, and not having the required tag lights.
He pleaded guilty to not having the required tag lights and reckless driving, and the rest of the charges were dismissed.
Amanda Bearden also has an extensive rap sheet that includes arrests for battery and falsifying a drug test.
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"We sleep with stuff in front of our front door and our back door because we didn't have anything to do with this,"Giegerich told Fox News after Debbie's murder.
"We're a little scared ourselves."