Everyone is asking themselves who killed and decapitated an 88-year old Georgia Man, and where is his 87-year old wife?
Howard Sills, the Putnam County sheriff, said friends of the couple discovered the body of Russell Dermond, 88, at their waterfront home in suburban Atlanta. He said Dermond’s headless body was found in the garage. The head itself has not been recovered, he said.
Friends of the couple became suspicious after phone calls were not answered and the couple failed to attend a party Saturday. The killing was believed to have occurred sometime between Friday and Sunday.
Sills said the murder does not appear to be a random act and has asked the FBI to assist in the search for Shirley Dermond, 87. There is no indication she is a suspect, according to investigators her pocketbook, cell phone and vehicle were all at the waterfront home where her husband’s body was found.
There is reportedly no evidence of forced entry and valuables inside the house appear to be in place, with the couple’s cars still in the driveway. Investigators don’t know whether the suspects or suspects approached the home by land or via the lake since it isn’t uncommon to see fisherman casting lures in the middle of the night.
The Dermonds moved into the community about 10 years ago after owning several fast food restaurants in New Jersey. The couple had been married for nearly seven decades, Sills said. They lived in Reynold Plantation, a gated neighborhood of expensive homes guarded by security officers where crime is rare, Sills said.
Investigators aren’t aware of any enemies the couple had made, or any reason why someone would target them, he said. Residents describe Reynolds Plantation – a Tony resort community about 75 miles east of Atlanta, which also boasts a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Ritz-Carlton Lodge — as a safe enclave where people were comfortable leaving their doos unlocked. The 3,300-square foot home where the Dermonds have lived since 1994 is valued at more than $1 million and sits on Lake Oconee, in the bucolic Great Waters neighborhood.
Shirley Dermond is 5-foot-2 and weighs 148 pounds. She has gray hair and blue eyes. And she is believed to be in danger, Sill told local media. Anyone with information should call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 706-485-8557.
“You’ve got such unusual circumstance here,” Sills said. If it’s an abduction, you would expect some sort of extortion demand. If it was an assassination, you’d think both bodies would be there. And then you have, totally, nothing in their background that indicates anything like this, and then the area where it happened is not indicative of any type of homicide.