Today in “Holy Hell, What?” crimes, this horror movie-level mystery.
Dateline Putnam County, Georgia, where county coroner Gary McElhenny tells the media that Russell Dermond, 88, was beheaded in his million-dollar lakefront home sometime between Saturday, May 3, and Monday, May 5. Dermond’s wife, Shirley, is missing.
Shirley Dermond is not a suspect. She is 87, and Putnam Sheriff Howard Sills told reporters that Mr. Dermond’s “body was moved,” and he didn’t “think an 87-year-old lady” could do such a thing.
The Dermonds lived in the gated and presumably secure Great Waters community at Reynolds Plantation. Investigators believe the person or persons responsible approached the Dermond residence from Lake Oconee, a central Georgia reservoir that ranges across Morgan, Greene and Putnam counties.
The Macon Telegraph reported that Sheriff Sills described the murder and disappearance as “baffling” and there aren’t that many clues as to what happened, so far:
There is no sign of forced entry to Russell and Shirley Dermond’s home where friends found his body about 10 a.m. Tuesday.
She was gone.
The cars are still there.
There is no sign of a struggle, either, inside the house…
To compound the mystery, security cameras inside the Great Waters community may have been for show, or perhaps poorly maintained, as they weren’t working at the time of the crime. The home was described as immaculate and nothing was stolen.
Based on the Telegraph’s reporting and some online searches, it’s hard to figure out why anyone would target an elderly couple like the Dermonds–and investigators have told the media they do think the Dermonds were targeted.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that the Putnam County Sheriff has asked the FBI to assist their investigation.
Edited to add: Missed while finding links earlier, this, from WSB, Atlanta’s ABC affiliate: “A law enforcement source told Channel 2 Action News that Dermond was beheaded and the head was not found at the crime scene.”