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RUSSELL & SHIRLEY DERMOND: Murdered in Georgia - May 2014

Discussion in 'Crimes' started by noZme, May 5, 2015.

  1. noZme

    noZme Bronze Member

    It has been one year since Russell Dermond, 88, was found dead at his home in the upscale Great Waters community, part of the Reynolds Plantation Development on Lake Oconee in Middle Georgia. His body was decapitated & the head has not been located. An extensive search was launched for his wife, Shirley, 87, whose body was eventually found 10 days later in the lake, some distance from their waterfront home. She had been bludgeoned & put into the water, her body tied to cinder blocks & submerged in the deepest part of the lake.

    The couple were well-known in the community, active in golfing. bridge club, their church. Both were last seen on Thursday before the discovery of Mr Dermond's body on Monday. He had been to a pharmacy & was seen on his usual walking trail, & she had played in the weekly contact bridge card club. Both enjoyed good health & friends were surprised to learn their ages, having thought them to be much younger.

    Monday, May 6th, after the unexplained absence at a Saturday Kentucky Derby party they had planned to attend & had not answered calls, friends went to their house & found Mr Dermond dead in the garage. Nothing has been reported stolen from or disturbed at the residence. Nothing unusual has been noted in their banking or business practices.

    They are survived by 3 grown children & several grandchildren, all of whom live elsewhere.

    Sheriff Howard Stills of Putnam County admits to having been stumped by these murders. Unfortunately, security cameras at the entrance to the gated Great Waters, were not working & at the Dermond's home, the security system was apparently not activated.

    Sills and other detectives, as well as FBI agents, have theorized that the killers could have had their own boat or even taken one of the docked boats nearby to kill Shirley Dermond before anchoring her body into the lake.

    “We’re looking at different people for different things,” Sills said in his pursuit of the killers. He said he still believes, like he did from the outset, that there were at least two persons involved.

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



    Uno2Much, GarAndMo49, Lily and 11 others like this.
  2. noZme

    noZme Bronze Member

  3. noZme

    noZme Bronze Member

    Current Atlanta Magazine article about the Dermond murders & Sheriff Sills.


    "Sills stepped out of the Suburban and stuck a Glock 18C in his waistband. He went in the house through the kitchen door, the same door the neighbor entered. Then he headed for an open door that led to a cramped two-car garage. The garage was dimly lit, but the white walls helped Sills see. On the floor between a Lincoln Town Car and a Lexus SUV was a man’s body on its back. The man’s age was hard to guess—because the body had no head. It had been cut off. And it was gone.

    Sills thought, Not only are you looking for a bad guy, you’re looking for a real bad guy.

    Sills and two deputies swept the rest of the 3,200-square-foot home. The north-facing windows afforded a spectacular view of the lake. The wooded backyard sloped down toward a covered dock.

    Sills assumed right away, and correctly, that the dead man was the homeowner. But there was another problem: The victim’s wife of 68 years was nowhere to be found.

    Sills was struck by the pristine condition of the house. A horror scene it was not. Aside from the headless body in the garage, and save for an unmade bed and an off-kilter lampshade in the living room, it was showroom-perfect. The lampshade caught Sills’s eye only because everything else was so neat. What blood there was—a considerable amount—had pooled and dried near the body.

    The best Sills could remember, there hadn’t been a double homicide in Putnam County since May 1984, 30 years earlier....."

    Dermond residence: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/147-Carolyn-Dr-Eatonton-GA-31024/110310631_zpid/
    Lily, Cousin Dupree, Boots and 4 others like this.
  4. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    The neighbors who alerted the authorities about Russ’ death live about a mile from the Dermond place. The neighbors had hosted a Kentucky Derby party the previous Saturday, May 3. The Dermonds had said they’d attend but never showed. So the neighbors, a few days later, went to check on them.

    The neighbors, the woman and her 75-year-old husband, were no doubt the first people in the Dermond home after a crime that has puzzled and frustrated investigators from the outset.

    Besides the headless body sprawled in the garage between the Dermonds’ Lexus SUV and their Lincoln Town Car, little in the home was amiss. Their front door was unlocked.

    The neighbors who made the 911 call did so on the Dermonds’ cordless phone. The husband who found Russ slain can be heard on the recorded line in the background searching the house in vain -- apparently for Shirley.

    “There’s nothing back here,” he said.

    Seconds later, at his wife’s side, she asked, “Did you find both of them?”

    “No,” the husband said.

    Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2015/05/02/3726718_new-details-as-mystery-reigns.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

    With all the new news articles with interviews, I am hoping Sheriff Sills is closer to an arrest than we know.
  5. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    In recent months, the eldest of the Dermonds’ surviving three children, Keith Dermond, who lives in Florida, recalled how his parents moved to the lake in the late 1990s “to get away from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta.”

    “They made some great friends and loved when family visited,” Keith Dermond, 56, said in February, adding that he hadn’t heard “from the sheriff or anyone in months.”

    Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2015/05/02/3726718_new-details-as-mystery-reigns.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

    Now please don't misunderstand me I'm not picking on the family, BUT how do you not pick up the phone and call the sheriff at least once a week given that your father was beheaded and your mother bludgeoned to death and sunk in Lake Oconee with two 30 lb concrete blocks!
  6. MadgeS

    MadgeS Bronze Member

    The beheading of Mr D. And Mrs D.s Remains found in water is sad enough. Realizing they were my parents age and suffered such gruesome deaths is beyond comprehension And grabbed my heart.
    I agree boots, why isn't the son or someone in the family in constant contact with LE?
  7. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    I haven't a clue why the family is calling to be updated. Maybe they weren't really a close knit family ? Maybe the murder of the third son kind of divided the family with his drug addiction. It's sad though.

    According to the Eatonton Messenger Sheriff Sills is going to be interviewing former employees of Mr. Dermond. Says the employees worked in "various capacities". It's 8 to 10 people from Georgia, Alabama and Florida (eldest son lives in Florida). Sills says these people are not considered "suspects" nor "persons of interest"

    He specifically stated employees of Mr. Dermond, so I am assuming employees at the restaurant franchises he owned. Doesn't sound like a housekeeper or maid or groundskeeper. It would have to be a pretty disgruntled employee or employees to cut someone's head off and kill the wife too.

    Cousin Dupree likes this.
  8. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member

    Respectfully snipped for brevity.

    My first thought is who knew the cameras weren't working?

    Second, I have a little bit of experience with security systems having worked for an alarm company at one time. The line about the security system not being activated is curious to me. How do they know it wasn't activated? It's possible someone who knows the code deactivated it when they came in. A lot of people think that their security system logs the times the system is turned off and on. This may have changed, but ten years ago that was a feature you had to pay extra for and business' were 99.99999% of the clients for that service. Maybe there is an internal log on the keypad that keeps track of the times, but if they are only basing their assumptions on the security system being off that doesn't mean it wasn't set.

    When they say the security system wasn't activated it could mean that the panic button wasn't pushed. It could also mean it was a daytime attack because most people don't activate their alarms during the day.

    The beheading of the old man seems to show a lot of anger. This doesn't seem to have been done to make identification more difficult. It seems to have been done as an act of great fury. The woman being bludgeoned to death also shows a lot of rage to me. It also appears the man's head was carted off. As a trophy?

    I wonder who benefited the most from their deaths?

    No blood in the house is particularly interesting, given the amount of blood spray that must have been created during the crime.

    All is JMO
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  9. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    “They had a security system. And they always kept their doors locked,” Keith Dermond said. “They were religious about that.”

    Keith Dermond also revealed that cameras manning the gates at Reynolds Plantation weren’t functioning at the time.


    I believe the cameras at the gate had been out for about two weeks. A violent storm passed through the area and knocked them out. They had not been replaced which is a shame. This is a multi-million dollar gated community and they don't get the cameras up and working ASAP after they know the storm took them out...?
    Uno2Much, MadgeS, Kimster and 2 others like this.
  10. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    I'm looking for a better link about the storm and cameras...

    Cousin Dupree, you are correct. It is suspected to have been a daytime attack:

    "Investigators believe they Dermonds were killed sometime between May 2 and 3rd. Though he wouldn’t elaborate, Keith Dermond, the couple’s son, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution it’s likely the crimes happened during the day."

    Uno2Much, GarAndMo49, Lily and 2 others like this.
  11. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    Participants came to honor the late Russell Dermond, who was found dead in the couple’s Great Waters home last week and hold a vigil for his wife, Shirley, who has disappeared. The Dermond's children -- Keith, Brad and Leslie -- did not attend. An Atlanta TV station later reported they had returned to their homes in Florida and North Carolina.

    MadgeS, Lily, Kimster and 2 others like this.
  12. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

  13. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    This case is one of those truly intriguing ones, where things just do not add up, any way you look at them, and questions just lead to more questions and little else.

    -- Why would anyone decapitate a man, take his head away but leave his body in plain view -- only to then go to truly extraordinary lengths to take his wife's battered body five miles down the river and hide it in the water, using concrete blocks?

    The first thing to my mind is, "Looks like a mob hit!" - they were from NJ after all... Only, I have studied mob crimes for quite some time, and this just doesn't fit. Note, I used the words, "looks like".

    So my next question is, "Was this staged to resemble a mob hit?" Concrete blocks? Sleeping with the fishes? Really? Had somebody seen one too many Godfather movies and figured LE would automatically look at the NJ/mafia connection?

    Why not sink two bodies? If it was staged, they'd need one body there to show a murder had been done. Cutting off the head would cause instant confusion - after all, what kind of person would do such a thing? Hiding Shirley's body caused police to believe she'd been abducted - more confusion - but then she shows up in the lake, which is just as confusing. If not more so.

    Staging is always about masking something - motive, method, evidence.. sometimes to gain time for a getaway.. or an alibi... sometimes to set up a wild goose chase.. Sadly, it seems to work, when you look at some of the more bizarre cold cases around.

    -- That said, the killer may have been deeply ill, and/or held festering hatred for the couple. A la Edmund Kemper and the nasty things he did to his poor old mum. But people like that really do not just drop out of the family woodwork - they have a history, hints of oddness going back years, though this might only be apparent to a few people. Could somebody that full of rage and/or sick really commit such an elaborate crime, and leave no clues behind them?

    Maybe. Maybe not.
  14. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Forgive my rambles..

    Another thought was -- they've killed the couple, then had the intention of dismembering and hiding the bodies, maybe so the Dermonds would "vanish".. but overestimated how gruesome that task would really be and abandoned it after cutting Russell's head off, opting to give them a water burial.

    But for some reason, only took Shirley. Was there was no room for two in the boat? Was there only one killer, and he couldn't handle two at once? And hey those blocks were heavy... And when he came back to get the rest of Russell, something scared him off.

    Just another scenario. There's not that many, really, that make any kind of sense.
    MadgeS, walkie-talkie, Boots and 2 others like this.
  15. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    Last edited: May 17, 2015
    MadgeS, Cousin Dupree and noZme like this.
  16. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    Re the perp (s) being scared off:

    On Carolyn Drive, a mile and a half into the subdivision, Sills stopped at a cream stucco four-bedroom house. Two American flags were tacked to the mailbox. The front yard was trimmed in crape myrtles, boxwoods, and pine straw. In the driveway was that day’s edition of USA Today. The previous day’s as well. There, in a shaded cul-de-sac that backs up to the water, was the neighbor who had discovered the death. It had been days since he’d seen or heard from the elderly couple who lived in the house. The neighbor had phoned them several times. Nothing. So he’d gone over to check. The door was unlocked. -

    See more at: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/grea...d-sills-chases-a-killer/#sthash.hlTfZz5d.dpuf

    These were the same neighbors who lived about a mile from the Dermonds and hosted the Kentucky Derby Party to which the Dermonds had RSVP'd.

    A picture of the garage from the outside. It looks small.

    Uno2Much, Lily, MadgeS and 2 others like this.
  17. noZme

    noZme Bronze Member

    Keep on rambling @Lily, that's all we can do. Nothing adds up. I think our logical, critical & not criminal thinking wants to "categorize" things & the Dermond killings defies that.

    First & foremost, they seem a very unlikely target for such violence. Why them - some disagreement or simply because they were old & vulnerable? If the murderer just wanted them dead, why wouldn't he kill them & leave? The longer he was on their property, the bigger the chance of being caught. Was that the thrill? As far as we know, nothing significant was taken. And the different methods of disposal, don't match up. Both were time-consuming & required physical work. Was that the product of a depraved person or an angry person/people?

    We know that at least part of the scenario took place via boat & most likely, under the cover of darkness. Someone may have noticed an unusual boat docked near the Dermonds' property during the day, but a "fishing" boat puttering on the dark lake would be nothing noteworthy & probably would not have been recognizable from most of the shoreline. Taking out at a landing would have been a bit risky, but we don't know that the boat was not permanently docked on the lake. One way is just as likely as another.

    Most times, I think the non-working cameras at the entrance to Great Waters was just a coincidence. Why would the gatekeepers have even mentioned that to residents & most especially to drivers of service vehicles entering the development? And even if the bad guys knew about the camera's, why choose the Dermond's house? By the way, "entry across the road" at Reynold's Plantation (the sister development) is much more secure.

    Many of us have to admit a nagging feeling about the family's absence in media. In so many cases, someone comes forward with a statement or appeal. But, others prefer privacy stay back & allow LE to do their job. Apparently, that's what is going on here. And as a lifetime follower of Georgia news, I can vouch for the reputation of Sheriff Sills. I would be glad to know he was in charge of any crime against my own family. I do find it strange that the Dermond's son said he doesn't have communication with the Sheriff's Office. I would be checking in often, but that's me.

    t's encouraging that Sills said he does have someone in mind. I wouldn't expect him to reveal any more information before an arrest. Someone out there, or two or three, may be running scared, knowing that LE is hot on the trail.... I certainly hope so.

    @Boots, isn't Vinnie the cutest?
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
    Uno2Much, Lily, MadgeS and 3 others like this.
  18. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    :highfive: Yes he is! I really, really, really like Sheriff Sills too! I have complete confidence in him. He can be my law man any time... :dance:
    Lily, MadgeS, noZme and 1 other person like this.
  19. noZme

    noZme Bronze Member

    @Boots & everyone else too.

    When Saxby Chambliss, my Senator at the time, put this letter from Sheriff Sills on his website, I printed it & keep it in a desk drawer. I was glad to find it online so I didn't have to scan it in here. I think this is the most reasonable "everyman," yet eloquent argument for the Second Amendment I ever read.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Sills is dedicated to solving the Dermond murders. (And I thought the cigar pic in Atlanta Magazine was downright cute.)

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/asaferconnecticut/tmy/0128/Reginald Preble.pdf
    Lily, Boots and MadgeS like this.
  20. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    I had to print the letter out too. Sheriff Sills for President! The cigar pic was awesome! Plus, the story about the beaver AND the chicken story... downright hilarious. He seems to have that dry sense of humor that comes on slow and then leaves you rolling on the floor.
    Lily and noZme like this.

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