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

Man Killed Wife Missing

By JEFF MARTIN

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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