[Putnam County, Georgia]
Russell (88) and Shirley (87) retired and moved to a gated community called the Great Waters Reynolds Lake Oconee.
Russell was caught on surveillance on May 1st, 2014 running his errands and safely leaving the store. Later in the day, Russell spoke to his son, Brad, over the phone. Then on May 2nd, 2014, Russell was seen playing golf and Shirley was seen playing her weekly bridge game. Everything in life appeared ordinary for the elderly couple, but after the 2nd, no one ever heard from the couple again.
On the 3rd, Russell and Shirley had planned to attend a Kentucky Derby party with their neighbors. However, they never showed up or notified anyone that they were not going to make it. On May 6th, 2014, their worried neighbors finally decided to stop by the Dermond residence to check on them. The door to the home was unlocked which sent a chill down their spine. They called the police to assist on a welfare check. When police entered the home, they described it as immaculately clean, just how Shirley preferred to keep it.
A peek into the garage led police to the decapitated body of Russell Dermond. Towels were surrounding his body to soak up the blood pooling. It was clear that someone took time to make sure his blood would not seep under the garage door and onto the driveway. Investigators said the decapitation took place postmortem due to the lack of blood splatter. The cut was very clean and looked professional. Russell had gunshot residue on his collarbone leading police to believe that his cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
Shirley was not located in the house which worried police that she was possibly kidnapped. However, ten days later on Lake Oconee, six miles from their home, two fishermen found Shirley’s body floating face down in the water. Cement blocks were tied around her ankles in an attempt to sink her. The decomposition and gasses has caused her body to rise to the surface and be discovered. Shirley was a petite lady, but by the time she was found, her body was swollen twice the size. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The wounds were so brutal that they penetrated her skull.
The double homicide case baffled police. The murder weapons were never discovered. Russell’s head was never found. Neighbors did not see or hear anything. No fingerprints or unknown blood was found inside the home. They did not have any persons of interest.
Considering all of the effort involved in the murders, police believe that there was more than one person involved. They also think that the Dermonds personally knew their murderers.