Man beheaded; wife missing in Ga.
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.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Source: Fire at black church in South Carolina wasn’t arson
- Counties defy same-sex marriage ruling
- Advocate pushes IRS on nonprofits’ tax forms
- U.S., Cuba to announce plan to open embassies
- Supreme Court to take up mandated dues for public employees unions in next term
- New York prison chief, 11 employees put on leave in escape
- Charter lapses for Export-Import Bank; conservatives vow to block revival in House
- NSA resumes collection of phone data
- Nike’s chairman plans to step aside
- Ten Commandments monument orderered removed from Oklahoma Capitol grounds
- FDA review of OxyContin abuse-deterrent version put on hold by maker