Lake Oconee Murder Stuns Wealthy CommunityBy: Toni Matthews-El - May 12, 2014
The beheading of a Georgia man and kidnapping of his wife is a bizarre puzzle law enforcement officials are struggling to make sense of.
“If I had a good, solid lead, guess what? I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said to reporters. “The only person who’s not a suspect is Sheriff Sills, because I know where I was.”
The murder of 88-year-old Russell Dermond and disappearance of his 87-year-old wife Shirley Dermond is both startling and terrifying to their wealthy Great Waters friends and neighbors. The area is among the most exclusive communities in the country.
The immediate explanation to such terrible crime if often a robbery gone wrong.
But the couple’s home was described as “pristine”. Nothing was taken, there was no sign of violence or a struggle.
There was no indication of forced entry of any kind.
It’s quite possible that the victims knew the murderer.
“You’ve got such unusual circumstances here,” said Sills. “If it’s an abduction, you would expect some sort of extortion demand. If it was an assassination, you’d think both bodies would be there. And then you have, totally, nothing in their background that indicates anything like this, and then the area where it happened is not indicative of any type of homicide.”
In fact, not much is known about the couple’s background at this point. All anything that can be said of the couple that own a million-dollar plantation overlooking Lake Oconee is that they originally hailed from New Jersey.
Did an old enemy follow them to Georgia? Did they cross the wrong people, individuals their friends and neighbors don’t know about?
There’s nothing but theories and speculation at the moment.
Law enforcement officials are treating Shirley Dermond’s disappearance as an abduction. She is 5 foot 2 inches and weighs approximately 148 pounds. Her hair is grayish in color and her eyes are blue. If you have any information about her disappearance and/or the murder, you are asked to call Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 706-485-8557.
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