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Husband Beheaded, Wife Missing From Gated Community

A retiree in Georgia was reportedly beheaded – and his head taken from the crime scene – while his elderly wife is missing in a mystery that has attracted the FBI.

Russell Dermond of Putnam County was reportedly beheaded in an attack over the weekend at his house. Credit: WSB TV screenshot
Russell Dermond of Putnam County was reportedly beheaded in an attack over the weekend at his house. Credit: WSB TV screenshot
By Deb Belt

A man was beheaded and his wife is missing in a crime that has terrified a gated community in Georgia.

Investigators have asked the FBI to join the investigation into the disappearance of 87-year-old Shirley Dermond and the apparent murder of 88-year-old Russell Dermond.

According to WSB-TV, friends of the couple went to their Lake Oconee home Tuesday morning and discovered what they believed to be the body of Russell Dermond. Dermond's head was not found at the crime scene, the station reports.

Police said Shirley Dermond was not at home at the time her husband's body was found, and they believe she may have been abducted. Authorities say it's possible that someone the couple knew committed the crime because there were no signs of forced entry and nothing was taken from the home, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

It's also likely the killers entered the home from the lake, because the community is gated with security guards at the entrance. 

Surveillance cameras in the community were not working, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told The Macon Telegraph.

At a press conference Thursday, Sills says after this week's brutal murder everyone should lock their doors.

"The only one who's not a suspect is me because I know where I was," Sills said in the press conference covered by WMAZ TV.

Sills says police have examined the backgrounds of family members and everyone who may have had contact with the couple over the last week, even the mail carrier. The Dermonds had no major health issues, no sign of any mental illness, and had been expected to go to a Kentucky Derby party over the weekend.

When they didn't show friends gave it a couple of days and on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. they went to the house and discovered Russell Dermond's body in the garage, WMAZ reports. He had been moved a few feet and his head had been removed. Shirley Dermond was nowhere to be found.

"I'm not optimistic given the fact of her husband's circumstances, holding out hope for the family," Sills said. "We still approach this as if she's been abducted and we pray that she is alive but we don't know anything about where Ms. Dermond is."

Investigators are finding it hard to track Shirley Dermond because her wallet, cellphone, purse and car were all left behind, the sheriff said.

The killing happened between Friday and Sunday. 

The couple has New Jersey roots and moved to Putnam County about 10 years ago, the sheriff told The Telegraph in Macon. Russell Dermond, AJC.com reported, owned several fast food restaurants before retiring.

Sills says a search of the lake, a search of the grounds, the woods with cadaver dogs, and knocking on neighbors' doors has turned up nothing. The last phone contact with the couple was on Thursday and they have no leads.

The sheriff told WMAZ that the couple had been happily married for 68 years, there has been no issues of any kind of domestic problems according to the people they have interviewed. 

Shirley Dermond stands at 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs 148 pounds and has grey hair and blue eyes. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 706-485-8557. 

Steve M May 28, 2014 at 01:07 AM
Yea, then felt bad about it and committed suicide by jumping in a river.
Heywood May 30, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Look for a swarthy Middle Eastern type as a possible suspect.
OpticianAndy June 01, 2014 at 04:23 PM
WOW SHE MUST BEEN IN THE MOOD...UR NOT SUPPOSE TO BITE IT OFF...ROUGH SEX IS OK ...BUT GEEEEEZ
mimmie June 02, 2014 at 02:23 PM
Did they check all the local head shops?

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