Sheriff: Decapitation case victims knew killer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 7:07 AM
Last updated 2:05 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

The sheriff leading the investigation into the gruesome slayings of an elderly Eatonton couple said he believes the victims knew their killers.

The Hermonds  AP
AP
The Hermonds

“They were at least minimally acquainted with whoever did this,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. “That’s an assumption, coupled with some physical evidence.”

Two fishermen recovered the body of 87-year-old Shirley Dermond — missing for two weeks — Friday afternoon near Wallace Dam in Lake Oconee. She had been dumped in one of the deepest parts of the lake but was discovered hung up in the underwater tree line. Her 88-year-old husband’s decapitated body was found May 6 in the garage of the couple’s home, located about 80 miles southeast of Atlanta. His head remains missing.

Sills said he is certain the killers accessed the Dermonds’ property by water. Both the sheriff and FBI profilers who’ve examined the case believe there at least two people involved in a crime that’s riveted middle Georgia and beyond.

Surveillance cameras on and off the lake may end up providing some much-needed leads. Sills said some video footage captured May 2 and 3 has been sent to the FBI for further examination.

No one’s been ruled out as a suspect, save for some yard workers who have been interviewed and, in some cases, polygraphed, he said.

“I’ve put a lot of people in my scope, but none in the cross hairs,” Sills said.

That includes the Dermonds’ three adult children.

“I’ve never eliminated them,” he said, though he cautioned there’s no evidence linking them to the slayings.

The sheriff has all but eliminated the idea that some sort of ritualistic cult was involved.

“If that was the case, they’d want us to know,” he said.

There’s conflicting signs that the killings were the work of professionals.

“For everything that looks professional, there’s something that isn’t,” Sills said. “This is not the work of some drug-crazed individuals, and this is not some professional assassin.”

Nothing has surfaced that would indicate the Dermonds ever associated with such people.

“I’ve looked at every check he’s written the last 10 years, every credit card receipt, and there’s nothing that looks out of the ordinary or unusual,” Sills said.

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seenitB4
88343
Points
seenitB4 05/21/14 - 08:16 am
4
0
Just a matter of time

When the reward gets high, they will be washed out.

itsanotherday1
43891
Points
itsanotherday1 05/21/14 - 08:44 am
4
0
I sure hope so. These animals

I sure hope so. These animals need to be in a cage.

Dixieman
15357
Points
Dixieman 05/21/14 - 09:11 am
4
0
Hmmmm

These sound to me like conclusions which are too certain based on evidence (not specified) which is too thin a reed to support them. Maybe lack of forced entry makes the Sheriff think the couple knew the killer(s)? Or they might have just forgetfully left a door unlocked.
Not the work of drug crazies but not the work of professional assassins either? How could they tell that?
I am going to be very interested to see whether these quick speculations are borne out after the killer(s) are caught.
A disgusting and shameful crime. Condolences to the family. What a terrible way to end your life....

AFjoe
3296
Points
AFjoe 05/21/14 - 09:52 am
4
0
Very Sad

This is one of the worst stories I have read in a long time. What a tragic way to life's end. Not only is the family dealing with the loss, but who knows how the LE is treating them. Guilty until proven.....
Condolences and may God bless.

grinder48
1989
Points
grinder48 05/21/14 - 10:16 am
0
0
Motive
Unpublished

Was anything stolen?

dichotomy
33579
Points
dichotomy 05/21/14 - 12:48 pm
5
0
Doesn't sound like a cult

Doesn't sound like a cult killing. Doesn't sound like a mob hit. Doesn't sound like a simple robbery. Doesn't sound like a [filtered word] off lawn service worker. Definitely not a love triangle. If I were in the will I would be expecting real close scrutiny about now.

GiantsAllDay
9699
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/21/14 - 01:21 pm
5
0
Follow the money.

Follow the money.

allhans
23782
Points
allhans 05/21/14 - 01:59 pm
4
0
I agree. Give the heirs a

I agree. Give the heirs a good look.

CobaltGeorge
161032
Points
CobaltGeorge 05/22/14 - 06:27 am
0
0
I'm Hoping I'm Wrong,

but I feel that this will become an unsolved cold case.

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