Georgia lake slayings remain mystery

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EATONTON, Ga. — In the days and weeks since early May when his elderly parents were killed, Keith Dermond has been as puzzled as anyone else.

Russell and Shirley Dermond  FAMILY PHOTO VIA MACON TELEGRAPH
FAMILY PHOTO VIA MACON TELEGRAPH
Russell and Shirley Dermond


Russell and Shirley Dermond had been married 62 years. Both in their late 80s, they fell prey to unspeakable violence -- savagery as the Putnam County sheriff has called it -- and whoever inflicted it seems to have left nary a trace.

“It just eats at you that somebody could do this and possibly get away with it. ... We don’t even know the motive at this point,” Keith Dermond told the Macon Telegraph on Wednesday. “It’s very hard to catch somebody when you don’t even know their motive, and you don’t know whether they would do it again.”

Dermond, 55, who lives in north Florida, said his family is still sorting through his parents’ belongings.

“It’s really tough,” he said.

As the investigation into the couple’s death reached its three-month mark, Sheriff Howard Sills said the case still weighs on him. Sills said he rose at 4 a.m. the other day to make note of an investigative angle that came to him in the night.

“Myself and one detective continue to work on this every day,” the sheriff said.

Investigators this week polygraphed someone who came forward with information that could prove fruitful, “to see if they were truthful,” Sills said.

On the sheriff’s desk Wednesday were 4,000-plus pages of documents related to the Dermond couple’s finances.

Russell Dermond, 88, had retired from corporate life -- much of it with clockmaking companies -- in the late 1980s to run a chain of Atlanta-area Hardee’s restaurants. About 15 years ago, he and his wife, Shirley, 87, moved to Lake Oconee to live out their years in a golf-course community in a waterfront home.

Sometime during the first weekend in May, they were killed. Russell Dermond was decapitated. Neighbors concerned they hadn’t seen him found his body May 6 in the garage of the Dermond’s residence.

The 3,200-square-foot, $1 million home sits in a tree-shrouded cul-de-sac in the Great Waters subdivision, a dozen or so miles northeast of Eatonton.

Shirley Dermond’s body didn’t turn up until May 16. Fishermen found it in the lake, about five miles away by water.

Autopsies showed that she and her husband died of head wounds, but exactly how they were killed is anyone’s guess.

The FBI and some Georgia sheriff’s investigators have helped in the probe, poring over the case file.

Sills recently called on the expertise of two detectives from the Jacksonville, Fla., sheriff’s office’s cold-case squad. Sills roomed with Jacksonville Sheriff John H. Rutherford when the two attended the FBI Academy.

The Florida detectives spent a day and a half in Eatonton examining crime-scene photographs and other materials, Sills said.

From the beginning of the investigation, authorities acknowledged that cracking the case might prove difficult.

No one reported hearing any commotion. The Dermonds likely were dead three days before Russell Dermond’s body was found. Video cameras at the guard house at the entrance to the subdivision weren’t working. And it is possible the killer came by boat. The 19,000-acre lake offered countless entry and escape routes.

While investigators for days scoured the Dermond house and areas around it for evidence, whatever they collected has yet to render a linchpin clue. And in the months since the killings, despite $55,000 in reward money, the flow of tips has all but dried up.

Even the kooks have quit calling.

Read more here.

Comments (12) Add comment
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seenitB4
93730
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seenitB4 08/07/14 - 07:12 am
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0
So sad

When the reward money gets higher, you will see some come out of the woodwork....I truly hope this is solved.

raul
5541
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raul 08/07/14 - 07:27 am
3
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Is the GBI working this case?

Is the GBI working this case? If not, why not?

historylover
14420
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historylover 08/07/14 - 08:25 am
5
0
Raul

Interestingly enough, it does not appear that the GBI is working this case. I checked their "unsolved homicide" list and the Dermonds are not on it. I wonder too, why not?

Dixieman
16595
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Dixieman 08/07/14 - 09:24 am
3
0
If it has been three months...

...I am sorry to say it may never get solved. (Premise of the TV show 48 hours is that that is the critical time period). What a bizarre crime, too. Sad how humanity behaves at times.

Farmboy
1003
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Farmboy 08/07/14 - 09:33 am
6
0
Just remember...

To the family members: I'm not sure what you believe; I can only tell you what I believe..Karma is more powerful than the law. It can succeed when the law fails. Nobody ever really gets away with something like this. In the grand scheme of things, nobody gets away with murder. There is always a price to pay one way or another. Sooner or later.

GiantsAllDay
10295
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GiantsAllDay 08/07/14 - 11:28 am
0
9
Well said, farmboy. There's a

Well said, farmboy. There's a bunch of unsolved murders all across this country in the inner city where people of color are victims. Only difference here is there's no rich white reward money. A murder of white people of societal heirarcy DEMANDS justice!!

Sweet son
11089
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Sweet son 08/07/14 - 11:28 am
3
0
@raul and historylover

Interesting point you have made about the GBI and it's involvement or lack thereof in this case. You would just have to believe that in a case like this that the GBI is the first agency with more resources available to assist local law enforcement and that is their task. They really have no original jurisdiction in any criminal activity. They are usually asked by the agency with original jurisdiction to assist.

Makes you wonder if they were just left out of this article or if there might be 'bad blood' between Sheriff Sills and the GBI. Hmmmm!

corgimom
36778
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corgimom 08/07/14 - 02:15 pm
2
4
Mrs. Dermond was kidnapped

Mrs. Dermond was kidnapped from the home, that's Federal, and the FBI is investigating this case, too.

If you have the FBI, what else would you want or need? It doesn't get any better than that.

sugarbutton
1140
Points
sugarbutton 08/07/14 - 02:38 pm
3
0
Color doesn't always enter into anything

Color doesn't always enter into anything. Amazingly I have a child we adopted when his black father was murdered by 5 black teenagers and they were located the same night and the white mother of the child was the key witness in all the trials. It went rather quickly. My prayer is that "our son" never meets the sons or daughters of the murderers. A few are in the same age group. Thankfully, they're in another county and all the criminals have been sentenced and will be gone for a long long time.

PS...My husband and I are white and we love our son so much...all I can see when I look at him is PURE love.

raul
5541
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raul 08/07/14 - 04:06 pm
4
0
The FBI initiates

The FBI initiates investigations for kidnappings of children 12 and under if intrastate kidnapping is suspected. Otherwise, if the kidnapping is intrastate such as this one, the FBI will monitor a case and offer assistance through FBI labs.

Sweet son
11089
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Sweet son 08/08/14 - 08:57 am
0
0
Raul is probably right on the kidnapping case. corgi called it

Federal but I am sure there are kidnapping charges in the Georgia Criminal Code. In a case like this we would hope that Sheriff Sills would welcome any assistance and resources that he could get and it doesn't matter who solves the case. In the end arrests would be the goal and if arrests are made then the it would have been a 'team' effort!

maandpa
469
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maandpa 08/08/14 - 09:06 pm
0
0
Praying

I am praying that God will lead police to the killer of this couple. So sad. I'm sure that whoever did this has a record or will commit another heinous crime again.

kiwiinamerica
961
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kiwiinamerica 08/08/14 - 09:17 pm
0
0
Motive.........
Unpublished

Who had motive??

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