TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Man beheaded; wife missing in Ga.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Thursday, May 8, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
 

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

Putnam County Deputy Coroner Marcus Turner said an autopsy showed that Russell Dermond was dead when his head was cut off, and authorities believe he died of a head or brain injury. His body was found on Tuesday by friends.

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

“We looked in the woods adjacent to the house, we looked in the lake,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said during a news conference. “Her pocketbook and things like that are there, her cellphone is there, the car is there — we don't have anything to track.”

Sills said the couple's lakefront home showed no signs of a struggle or forced entry, and no ransom note was left behind.

Those details are among the reasons why he thinks the killing wasn't random.

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.”

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

He added that the couple's adult children live in other states and have been cooperative with investigators.

“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. Sills said the killer may have arrived by boat, though they haven't ruled out other possibilities.

Investigators are interviewing people who knew the Dermonds, and authorities are also reviewing surveillance footage from the community.

“I certainly hope that she's still alive but I'm not overly optimistic because of her husband,” he said Thursday afternoon. “If it's an abduction, you would expect some sort of extortion demand. If it was an assassination you would think both of the people would be there — both bodies would be there.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
  2. Gun used by agent who helped jail Capone headed to museum
  3. Fraternity’s racist chant among its traditions, University of Oklahoma finds
  4. Maryland might owe federal government millions for health care exchange
  5. Sen. Reid follows same old script for Democrats as he endorses Schumer as successor
  6. American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
  7. Refunds hijacked in unique manner
  8. $140M Picasso likely to set auction record
  9. National briefs