Russell and Shirley Dermond lived in a gated community on Lake Oconee. Three years ago this month, they were murdered. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills says they found Mrs. Dermond in the lake, and her husband decapitated in garage.
“Most decapitations, they are alive, and that’s the increased brutality of it. His head was removed after the man was dead,” Sills said.
He says they keep tabs on similar crimes across the country, but that hasn't led to any leads in the case.
“Decapitation is rare in America, period,” Sills said. “Since this crime occurred, there's only been one decapitation where a head was removed and was not at the scene in the United States of America. We stay on top of every murder, anytime we hear about decapitation the data of this crime is entered into the FBI’s Vi Cap program. If somebody's looking at a similar crime, they'll find this crime, and there's only been one where's somebody's head been taken in the last 3 years, and there appears to be no nexus.”
Sills says this murder case baffles him and that he thinks about it daily.
Over the years, they've followed hundreds of tips, and combed through thousands of documents, but have yet to find a suspect.
“It is still the number one crime this sheriff’s office has under investigation today as it was three years ago,” Sills said.
He says the case may be cold now, but it’s still active. Sills is waiting for the person who knows what happened to pick up the phone and do the right thing.
“It really bothers me is whoever did this is out there, and whoever did something like this will certainly do it again,” Sills said.
If you have information about the Dermond case, you should call the Putnam Sheriff’s office at 706-485-8557.