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Sheriff: 88-year-old man killed in Ga. was beheaded, 87-year-old wife missing

Man Killed Wife Missing


ATLANTA (AP) -- An 88-year-old man was decapitated in an exclusive gated community in Georgia and his wife has gone missing, the sheriff said Thursday, adding that the man's head hasn't been found.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said Russell Dermond was likely beheaded after he was killed, but the autopsy was pending. Sills said the cause of death hasn't been determined for the man whose body was found by friends on Tuesday.

Investigators fear Dermond's 87-year-old wife, Shirley, was abducted. They were searching for her Thursday with the help of the FBI.

The couple had been married for nearly seven decades, Sills said.

"The best we can determine from all sources is that this was a perfect marriage," he said. "There's nothing that we have found out so far that looks askance or gives us any particular motive."

They lived in Reynolds Plantation, a gated neighborhood of expansive homes guarded by security officers where crime is rare, Sills said.

"This home is in one of the most exclusive gated communities in the state of Georgia," he said. "I don't remember even a burglary that I can even recall in the whole subdivision."

The home is on the shore of sprawling Lake Oconee in the Greensboro area, and Sills said investigators believe the killer might have arrived by boat.

Shirley Dermond's cellphone, wallet and other personal items were left behind, making the search difficult, Sills said. There were no signs of struggle in the home. Cadaver dogs have searched a wooded area next to the home, and investigators are interviewing those who knew the Dermonds, Sills said.

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bocotora1 May 08 2014 at 6:25 PM

It is possible that some near relative is involved, OR, someone interested in inheriting the esttate for profit. You never know - a neighbor or neighbor son or other. This should be an interesting case for the authorities to solve.

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1 reply
moose bocotora1 May 08 2014 at 6:36 PM

Decapitation is usually a sign from drug dealers. This is their way of making 'their' statement.

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2 replies
LA is Best moose May 08 2014 at 6:51 PM

or Mooslimes!

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animalloveinc moose May 08 2014 at 7:28 PM

Ummm.... yeah. Sure. Whatever. (eyes are REALLY rolling)
Kinda like the "Columbian Neck Tie" theory spewed forth by O.J. Simpson's sleaze bag attorney's during his murder trial, correct?

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dal May 08 2014 at 7:43 PM

What a horrible thing to do to this couple, I mean the man was in his late 80's why on earth would you cut off his head?! I only hope they find her alive.

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mshapagurl15 May 08 2014 at 7:50 PM

What happened to that elderly man is so horrific and whoever is responsible for his murder as well as the abduction of his wife better give up his sleep permanently. You know who you are so be a man and let this woman go and give yourself up now. You killed her husband and you think by doing this makes you a big and tough man? Not so little coward, not so!

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Franco May 08 2014 at 8:07 PM

Arm yourselves and don't be foolish!

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1 reply
animalloveinc Franco May 08 2014 at 8:55 PM

What's so foolish about having two arms? Mine work fine.

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hark4109 May 08 2014 at 9:15 PM

Those people paying for the gated community? WOW, what a waste of dough

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mkwise6241 May 08 2014 at 8:12 PM

this says "family" and to me. and the motive that drives most criminals MONEY!

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1 reply
Sarah mkwise6241 May 08 2014 at 10:01 PM

All children (adults) live out of state - did not hear of any family living near.
She was hardly a likely suspect as she's 87 & they were married some 68 yrs, but according to the newspaper it stated that another son was murdered some 10 yrs ago - BUT... that newspaper says lots of things that are not so...

Seems the husband had owned serveral fast food restaurants in the Atlanta area before retiring, mkwise6241.

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sept917 May 08 2014 at 8:13 PM

I'm thinking this is a satanic cult crime, that these folks were randomly chosen and sacrificed because of their trusting nature or age. The sheriff should bring in outside agencies for help in solving this case. IMO he and his department will not have the experience to solve this crime due to the lack of most ANY type of crime in this upscale, exclusive gated community. I hope he doesn't have a big ego and simply wants this crime solved and the woman found as quickly as possible.

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3 replies
Barry May 08 2014 at 8:16 PM

My very own true experience with father that suffered from AD.
One night in Jan, in Nebr. I was woke by a tremendous ruckus in my father's bedroom.
In a matter of just a few minutes, took me and my mother a moment to undestand what we were hearing. We rushed to the other side of the house to my fathers bedroom.
He was standing, in the dark, totally naked, snas pajamas. The room was completely torn up, King size mattress thrown completly off the bed, covers scattered around, lamps and draperies torn down and scattered. One lamp trown thru a doublehung window all the way outside. An amazing amount of disruption in a very short period of time. I'd say about 3 to 5 minutes max.
I turned on the lights, asked him what he was doing. As calm and collected as an 80 year old man suffering from advanced AD could.
You are going to love this.
he simply stated camla as could be, that.
A bunch of army guys had busted in and were trying to kidnap him, he fought them off abd they escaped cont.

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1 reply
mhdjl Barry May 08 2014 at 10:29 PM

I was thinking that either the husband or the wife could have been suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer's. My mother-in-law suffers from early stages of Dementia. If she answers the phone and there is a salesman on the other end, she might okay them coming to the home, even though the salesman is not from one of the companies that my father-in-law uses to work on their home. That is all it takes for the guard at the gate to hear, that she gave the okay. Then my father-in-law has to straighten everything out.

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animalloveinc May 08 2014 at 8:43 PM

My husband and I considered purchasing a vacation home in Reynolds Plantation a couple of years ago. This development sits on Lake Oconee, a MASSIVE "man made" lake, (some 20 some miles long!) that contains numerous coves, back bays and channels.
Despite being "gated," Reynolds Plantation is so easily accessed by water that it's nearly laughable. Its lakefront security system consists of little more than a couple of small closed circuit cameras mounted at the entrance to its marina. A good aim and a couple of rocks could easily take them out.
In addition, the entire lake is dotted with numerous public boat launch sites that have no security and are open 24/7. Anyone can slip a boat in and out of Oconee's waters at night completely unnoticed. Many fishermen do.
It's going to be interesting to watch this whodunnit play out.

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1 reply
Sarah animalloveinc May 08 2014 at 9:44 PM

animalloveinc - in a sense it might be interesting, but for family & friends, I would not call it interesting - more like tragic & shocking!
The Security cameras were not working so it was stated locally...The Sheriff sounded very sharp in dealing with the reporters today in a live Press Conference - as to dumb questions some of them asked, he had very quick answers - afraid they showed their ignorance & even got one of his statements made which we heard completely incorrect.
One of the worst things according to the Sheriff are the inuendos, gossip & rumors rampant at this time......but of the homicides he has investigated this one appears to be the worst at this time.

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crnaatty May 08 2014 at 8:46 PM

Check out the decapitation of a Mercer Law School Graduate 2 years ago in Macon, GA. She was a stellar law graduate studying for the bar. Her killer lived above her in the same duplex. Last week to avoid the lethal injection he confessed to her death and decapitation. He was also her classmate in Mercer Law School. This story stayed local-not sure why. She attended the elite school in Atlanta-Agnes Scott for her undergraduate degree and was an athlete there. Copycat Murder?

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2 replies
Sarah crnaatty May 08 2014 at 9:38 PM

Doesn't sound like it - the Sheriff thinks this couple was targeted - not random killing, crnaathy.
But as to why, so far doesn't seem to be known or disclosed. The Sheriff also said he 'hopes' the wife is still alive but didn't sound like he thought it very likely.

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Allen Cat crnaatty May 09 2014 at 11:35 AM

The story stayed local because it doesn`t fit the liberal media`s agenda

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