More than one week has passed since the headless body of an 88-year-old Reynolds Plantation homeowner in Putnam County was found in his garage home and his 87-year-old wife was labeled a missing person. The local sheriff told one news agency on May 14 that the law enforcement community working on the Eatonton, Ga. homicide and suspected kidnapping are almost as clueless now as they were a week ago about how and why this crime was committed, and who did it.
But the lack of clues isn't because the PCSO and other law enforcement agencies like the FBI, GBI, and six other surrounding community sheriff's offices are not doing all they can to learn what happened. "Every call we get that has a shred of credibility is responded to, or is being responded to," Sheriff Howard Sills said on Wednesday.
And in addition to fielding those innumerable calls from the public, the Putnam County Sheriff has polygraphed some maintenance workers, but found no new information. In addition, he and his staff, along with 10 FBI agents and 60-70 deputy sheriff's from six surrounding communities--Baldwin, Green, Jasper, Morgan, Monroe and Newton--have also scoured 6-10 acres of land around the Dermond home at the Waters neighborhood, in addition to doing all the other investigative interviews and crime scene processing that has been done thus far in the case.
Sheriff Sills said that a large part of the activities taking place is due to the desire to be thorough in the investigation, rather than a result of any lead that they are following up on. Case in point is the search that was conducted on Wednesday by the large group of law enforcement officers. "We have a weather front coming in tomorrow,' Sheriff Sills said, so 'this is something that needed to be done, just to see if someone could have been over there doing surveillance on the house, or something like that."
To aid in the Georgia investigative effort, which has thus far produced no new leads in the disappearance of Shirley Wilcox Dermond, or the decapitated head of her husband Russell, the FBI has offered a $20,000 reward in addition to providing their profiling services from Quantico, which is being aided by profiling services provided from the GBI, according to WSBTV.
And the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provided assistance with searching the cove and parts of Lake Oconee, which flows behind the couple's million-dollar home in a gated community. But that sonar and robotic search has only netted a ladder, some wood pieces, a lawn furniture item, and a Christmas tree, to date.
In prior communications, Sheriff Sills has taken time to shoot down rumors circulating on social media sites during the course of the investigation, such as public belief that this may have been a mob hit, that Shirley Dermond was missing due to being in protective witness custody, or that the decapitation of Russell Dermond may have been the result of an upcoming court appeal testimony he was alleged to be giving to keep his son Mark's killer behind bars.
Sheriff Sills shared more details about the Mark Dermond murder in 2000, and then again on Wednesday he addressed that rumor again, stating that "That man won't even be eligible for parole until next year," according to the Eatonton Messenger.
As far the victim's family, which includes three adult children--Keith and Brad Dermond, as well as their sister Leslie Dermond--and their spouses and children, Sheriff Howard Sills says that "The Family has been very cooperative throughout this entire investigation. And there's nothing in the background of these people that...that shows any connection, at this point in time, to any of this foolishness that we hear or see on Facebook, and things like that."