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Lessons for Dermond investigators from Georgia killer Stephen McDaniel

Russell Dermond, right, pictured with his wife Shirley Dermond, far left and their grandson.
Russell Dermond, right, pictured with his wife Shirley Dermond, far left and their grandson.
Graham Patton Facebook

As the Putnam County Sheriff's Office personnel and the Department of Natural Resources seeks to keep out trespassers at the home and boat dock of double homicide victims Shirley and Russell Dermond over the Memorial Day weekend, they hope that someone on the lake for recreational purposes might come across needed--but graphic--evidence, according to Sheriff Howard Sills' May 24 interview with The Telegraph in Macon.

I hate to be graphic, or sound crude, but we're still looking for Mr. Dermond's head," Sills said, so "If that's seen out there (in Lake Oconee), or something like that is seen, we need to know."

Dermond investigators hope that by not restricting Lake Oconee access over the long holiday weekend this May that someone will see something that can aid their investigation, as they need to recover the head of the 88-year-old luxury Great Waters Reynolds Plantation waterfront homeowner.

If the killer or killers responsible for the bizarre slaying of the elderly couple live in Georgia, then there is little doubt that they have heard of killer Stephen McDaniel, especially since he lived little more than an hour's drive away from the upscale golfing community of the victims, and since his case has garnered so much media attention this year given his bizarre crime and recent confession.

McDaniel murdered and dismembered Lauren Giddings, a fellow law student graduate from Mercer. But he didn't do it as a result of cult influence, as the Dermond's son Keith suggested in his parent's case. But in his confession about the dismemberment and decapitation crime, McDaniel shares details that could help the Dermond investigators, because he reveals how he used the victim's own bathtub to dismember her limbs and head from her torso before wrapping them in separate black trash bags and throwing the parts in two separate locations: the Mercer Law School Dumpster and the Barrister's Hall apartment's trashcans.

Due to a delayed trash pickup, the Lauren Giddings murder case caught a break, and police recovered victim remains, aiding them in their investigation and arrest of McDaniel. Likewise in the Shirley Dermond case, two fishermen happened upon Shirley Dermond's body floating in Lake Oconee, where her killer or killers hid it.

But Russell Dermond's head is still missing. And if the killer or killers in this case followed Stephen McDaniel's case and learned from his MO, then Russell Dermond's missing remains could be somewhere besides the lake being searched. It could have been placed in a trash can or dumpster on the luxury property somewhere, and while it may already be at a trash dump site as a result; it may also still be on the 599 parcel property somewhere.

Anyone seeing a plastic trash bag on Lake Oconee this weekend (or the surrounding waters) should not touch it before calling the Putnam County Sheriff's Office or flagging down DNR on the lake, in case it contains evidence. Sheriff Sills told The Telegraph that he already expects to get calls which may prove fruitless this weekend, so his men will not mind checking out the bag for you--and possibly preserving the evidence it might contain.

So please call (706) 485-8557 if you come across anything suspicious in the Great Waters Reynolds Plantation community or Lake Oconee on Memorial Day weekend. It could help bring justice to two elderly victims that died horrible deaths needlessly.