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Ga. man, 88, found decapitated, elderly wife believed abducted

Police in Atlanta, along with help from the FBI, are trying to piece together the mystery of an 88-year-old man found decapitated inside his Eatonton, Ga. home. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the man’s 87-year-old wife has gone missing.

Police believe the missing wife to be in imminent danger.

On May 8, CNN reported that after friends of Russell and Shirley Dermond hadn’t seen or heard from the elderly couple for a few days, they went to the Dermonds’ home on Tuesday to check on them. Those friends made a gruesome discovery inside the Dermonds’ garage.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Russell Dermond was killed and then reportedly decapitated sometime between Friday and Sunday. Police are remaining tight-lipped about their investigation and what they discovered at the crime scene, but said that they’re working the disappearance of Shirley Dermond as an abduction.

Earlier reports that parts of the wife’s body were found in the area turned out to be “totally false,” according to police. Friends familiar with the Dermonds describe the couple as "sweet as can be." And although police are not releasing specific details regarding the elderly man’s death, Sheriff Howard Sills would not deny the fact that the man was found beheaded.

"I am only confirming at this time that Russell Dermond's body suffered significant trauma. An autopsy will be performed at the state crime lab today, and I may say more about that upon its completion." he said.

Keith Dermond, the elderly couple’s son, described his parents as “salt of the Earth," and is asking anyone with any information on his father’s death and mother’s abduction to come forward, according to USA Today. Police do not consider the son a suspect in his father’s murder or mother’s disappearance. Sills also doesn’t consider the elderly wife as a suspect in her husband’s killing.

"The body was moved, and I just don't think an 87-year-old lady can do it. She's gone, her personal effects are still at the house. The totality of what we're seeing here leaves me to believe she was abducted and not a suspect, but I'm never going to say never until I know differently."

Sills believes that the missing mother is "in imminent danger," and considers it possible that the Dermonds may have known the suspect as “there were no signs of forced entry, no sign of a robbery or a struggle.”

The missing 87-year-old Shirley Dermond is described as being 5-foot-2, weighing around 148 pounds, with grey hair and blue eyes. Anyone with more information in this case should call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 706-485-8557. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.

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