Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Crime & Courts

Decapitation, kidnapping and murders of elderly Ga. couple still a mystery

See also

The decapitation and murder of 88-year-old Georgia retiree Russell Dermond, and the kidnapping and murder of his wife Shirley Dermond, 87, still have police in Eatonton, Ga. scratching for clues, motives and suspects. To date, the couple’s murders remain an unsolved mystery, according to a June 13 report from Yahoo! News.

The neighborhood where the couple resided is usually quiet, peaceful and crime free. The Dermonds’ lakeside home sat on the banks of Lake Oconee in the secure gated community of Great Waters, a community complete with a manned guardhouse.

The mystery of 87-year-old Shirley Dermond, who was reported missing from her Eatonton, Ga. home and whose husband’s decapitated remains were discovered in the family garage in early May, came to a grisly conclusion when authorities shared on May 16 that Shirley’s lifeless body was discovered in the cold waters of Lake Oconee, just south of Athens. The gruesome discovery was announced by Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills.

Sills confirmed that Shirley was murdered. Although the sheriff would not go into detail regarding the condition of the body, he did say that there were “no glaring signs of trauma,” and that “the head was not removed or anything like that," according to CNN. Authorities still have no motive for the murders of Shirley Dermond and her decapitated husband, Russell. Police also have no suspects in the mysterious double homicide.

Police are going under the assumption that Shirley was abducted from her home sometime between May 2 and May 4, following the decapitation of her 88-year-old husband Russell. Investigators continue to search for Russell’s decapitated head.

The FBI put up more than 100 billboards in its search for the missing woman, and it offered a reward of up to $20,000 for information to her location or the arrest of the person responsible for her disappearance. The mindset of the individual that did this was a homicidal individual that doesn't deserve to breathe the air on this Earth," Sills said.

WSBTV reported that Shirley’s body was discovered in Lake Oconee by a fisherman who said “It became apparent as we pulled closer that it wasn't just something in the water. It was a person and I won't forget it."

The double homicide has Sills, a 40 year veteran in law enforcement, completely baffled. The sheriff said he’s never seen a case like this.

Theories and speculation abound in the case, ranging from mob hits, drug dealers, cults and even “ a female alligator seeking food for her young, the sheriff said.” Sills has already conducted thorough investigations into the lives of the Dermond family and “simply can't figure out who would want the Dermonds dead.”

The sheriff remains undaunted in his pursuit of the murderers and plans to stay on the case. But he’s hoping for a break.

"They've done a good job concealing themselves," he said of the killers. "We've got to do a better job of finding them."

Advertisement