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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Who Murdered Russell and Shirley Dermond?

     In 2014, 88-year-old Russell Dermond and his 87-year-old wife Shirley resided in a $1 million, 3,300-square-foot home on the shores of Lake Oconee in Reynolds Plantation, Georgia, a retirement/resort community 75 miles east of Atlanta. Before retiring, Mr. Dermond owned franchises in Wendy's and Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurants. Mr. Dermond, a U.S. Navy veteran, grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey. He played golf, liked to read, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. The couple regularly attended the Lake Oconee Community Church.

     Married 68 years, the couple, in 1994, purchased the house on the cul-de-sac in the neighborhood of Lakeside Great Waters. The gated community, that features a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, was considered safe from crime.

     In 2000, one of the couple's three adult children, Mark Dermond, was shot to death after a drug deal went bad in Atlanta. The Dermond's oldest son had been struggling with drug addiction for years.

     On Monday, May 6, 2014, after not hearing from Russell or Shirley Dermond for several days, neighbors went to their house to check on them. They found Mr. Dermond's body in the garage. He had been decapitated. Mrs. Dermond was missing along with her husband's head. Both of their vehicles were parked in the driveway and the interior of the dwelling seemed undisturbed. There were no signs of forced entry, and nothing had been stolen, including Mrs. Dermond's purse that was still in the house.

     Investigators with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), based upon the blood spatter pattern in the garage, theorized that Mr. Dermond's head had been cut off after his death. Moreover, he had not been stabbed or shot. Detectives believed he had been bludgeoned to death sometime between Friday, May 2 and Sunday, May 5, 2014.

     Following Mr. Dermond's murder, there was no activity on the couple's bank accounts. Since no ransom demands had been made, detectives didn't think Mrs. Dermond had been kidnapped for money.

     To help the local authorities locate Shirley Dermond, the FBI put up 100 billboard posters and offered a $20,000 reward. Scuba divers searched the lake in the vicinity of the house and officers used cadaver dogs to look for the missing woman in the surrounding woods. Police officers and FBI agents also questioned dozens of residents of the gated community.

     On May 7, 2014, Bradley Dermond, the couple's son, told a local television reporter that the murder of his father and the disappearance of his mother,"makes no sense at all. We're still hoping that our mother is OK." Two days later, Putnam County Coroner Gary McEhenney announced the presumed cause of Mr. Dermond's death to be "cerebral trauma."

     On Friday afternoon May 16, 2014, after two fishermen spotted a body, an emergency crew pulled Shirley Dermond's corpse out of Lake Oconee five miles from her house. According to the Putnam County coroner, she had been murdered by blunt force trauma to the head then dumped into the water.

     Investigators believed the intruder or intruders who murdered the couple may have used a boat in the commission of the crime. No suspects, however, were developed in the case. Moreover, the motive behind the double murder remained a mystery. The authorities had not located Mr. Dermond's head and the reason behind his decapitation was unknown. Some believed the murders could have been a mob hit, but who would want these elderly people rubbed out?

     Residents of this community, following the gruesome double-murder, had their illusion of security shattered.

     In November 2014, six months after the still unsolved murders, Putnam County sheriff Howard Sills, in an interview with a local television news reporter, said, "I go to sleep every night thinking about this case and wake up every morning thinking about it. And I'm not exaggerating." According to the sheriff, every potential suspect questioned in the investigation had been cleared. The sheriff said he believed the murders had been pre-meditated and planned. "You can't make me believe there was any kind of randomness to this crime. It bothers me a great deal that someone has committed such a heinous crime and they're still out there."

     On December 9, 2014, Sheriff Sills told another television reporter that his office had received thousands of pages of phone records going back six months prior to the Dermond murders. The Gwinnet County district attorney's office was using special software to help investigators analyze the phone data in search for suspects.

     The reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer or killers, raised to $55,000, did not produce any leads in the case.

     In February 2015, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills revealed to a local TV reporter that Shirley Dermond's body had been held to the bottom of Lake Oconee by two cement blocks. The killer or killers had not accounted for decomposing gases that causes a weighted down body in water to become buoyant. While there was no effort to hide Mr. Dermond's body, the killer or killers did not want his wife's corpse to be found.

     In April 2016, in speaking to a local newspaper reporter, the murder victims' 57-year-old son Keith said, "It's bad enough to lose both of your parents at the same time, but in the way it happened. We would have been devastated if they'd just had a car accident. But to have it all happen this way, and then just compounding with the details and then the fact they haven't caught anybody. They don't even have a clue. We don't even know why."

      

20 comments:

  1. I am very surprised this case has gone cold. I have been following this case from a distance. If the FBI is involved which I assume, they have developed profiles on the unsub individuals. That information should released tactfully to generate interest from the local public.

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    1. Same here, it is astonishing there is no solid lead.

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    2. Same, it is astonishing there is still no solid lead connected to this case.

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  2. Let us know if something new comesup!

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  3. I am not surprised at all that this investigation has grown cold. Although the FBI is involved, the GBI has been denied involvement in the investigation..Imo, the writing is on the wall and the Devil is in the details...The motive in the Dermond abduction/murders/decapitation is retribution, imo..
    Wolfscratch

    http://nuwaubian.blogspot.com/2014/04/weather-update.html
    April 30, 2014
    Weather update

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  4. I think these guys are barking up the wrong tree - this is either a serial killer probably a couple who gets off on this type of heinous murder - or its' someone who is MIGHTY pissed at this couple.... and it's someone who either lives ON the lake or someone who accessed it via one of the limited boat ramps - it's been a while since I was on Oconee but there used to be just two ramps into the lake - they need to check traffic cams on ALL roads leading to the lake and interview every single person pulling a boat three days prior forward. and check the background of everyone living ON the lake with boats ---- the killer has a boat period. the devil is not in the details on this case it in motive -- he fired someone who lost their home and family - closed a franchise - and whoever ran the franchise is a crazy who harbored the grudge that STUPID south GA sheriff saying there was something about the head they didn't want us to see -- REALLY - LIKE WHAT???? geez - it's going to take a lot more than they put into it and until they check ALL boats on the lake that day they are not getting an answer - even checking peoples security cameras that might be directed toward the lake - they should have done that one DAY freaking ONE.

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  5. Why does no one think it might be revenge for the murder case of his son-the result of the drug deal gone wrong? If the son had been suffering with drug addiction for years, he must have known some unsavory characters. I think I read the person who killed him was incarcerated for the murder--perhaps he/she is out now or a family member or friend is helping to get retribution.

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  6. I agree with "dixiedragon" to a certain extent. There has to be a local connection. Some first timer is not going to be able to navigate the lake under darkness to this location easily without some missteps.

    I am leaning to a low level robbery gone bad. People of Dermonds age group function in a "cash" world for their daily activities. My investigation would have canvassed every store, gas station, liquor store, and restaurant that might have been visited. Beyond the obvious questions about possible visits by the Dermonds I would be identifying individuals who might have quit or taken extended vacation out of state shortly after the incident timeframe. There is a profile on the "unsubs".

    With things as quiet as they are from the authorities, there must be a suspect or suspects identified without a clear motive or evidence in house for a solid case.

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  7. RE: In November 2014, six months after the still unsolved murders, Putnam County sheriff Howard Sills, in an interview with a local television news reporter, said, "I go to sleep every night thinking about this case and wake up every morning thinking about it. And I'm not exaggerating."
    ___________________________

    Imo, the Dermond abduction/decapitation/murders were to send a message of retribution to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills...
    WS/FX

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  8. Perhaps this did not start out as a murder, but to cover up a tragic boating accident. Perhaps the Dermonds were freinds with someone accross the lake who owned a boat, and perhap that person was transporting the Dermonds home late one night, inebriated, and struck a bridge or tree, decapitating Russel and killing Shirley. In an effort to cover the crime, decides to weigh down the bodies, abandonds that effort after disposing of Shirley.

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    1. And then takes the body of the husband back to his house? Dream on.

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    2. that has to be one of the dumbest theories i have heard, wow your imagination is great. Maybe it was a ghost that just got pissed off and decided to kill them lol. You are a moron

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    3. Maybe he has a wild imagination but at least he is putting thoughts out and isn't an asshole to anyone like certain someone we noticed here lol

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  9. Regarding the Nuwabian theory. Has anyone noted the resemblency og Russel Dermond to Sheriff Sills? In some states, determining the residence of LEO's is difficult due to public record laws. Suppose someone had spotted Russel Dermond, and followed him home thinking he was Sills?

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  10. In less than 30 days, the Dermond abduction/decapitation/murders investigation will sadly be one year cold.. Imo, seems so obvious to me that the writing is on the wall and the Devil is in the details.. The primary reason for lack of success in the Dermond murder investigation is the refusal by Sheriff Howard Sills to utilize all investigative resources; the well trained and experienced GBI special agents... jmo
    RE: Regarding the Nuwabian theory;
    There has been only one other major investigation by Sheriff Sills in Putnam County, where the GBI wasn't utilized. This was the Dwight M.Z. York/Nuwaubian Cult investigation. The FBI did assist in the case and DMZ York was sent to Federal Super Maz for 135 years. The hardcore followers of the NC remain active and are being directed by DMZ York from prison, imo, and from my research. The NC has a paramilitary trained security force; 'The Mujahid', which have dismembered and decapitated victims in the past. Previously the AAC in Brooklyn, NY, the NC moved to GA due to an active FBI investigation of their criminal activity.
    Ansaaru Allah Community in the West" in 1970,[10] which a 1993 FBI report described as a "front for a wide range of criminal activity, including arson,[11] welfare fraud and extortion'..

    York's right hand man; Roy Savage; Hashim the Warrior, was the leader of AAC's security force; the Mujahid. Savage was the primary suspect for the murder of political activist Horace Green by FBI investigators, who refused to share their info with NYPD homicide investigators for over 2 decades..

    State v. Savage - Decided: July 19, 1990.
    STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
    v.
    ROY SAVAGE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

    http://nj.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.19900719_0040484.NJ.htm/qx


    [120 NJ Page 600]

    The odor pervaded the hallways of the Projects during the week-end and even reached some apartments. On Monday, September 12, 1983, Augustine Arana, a porter at the Projects, was asked to investigate an odor on the twelfth floor. Arana found a large blue suitcase in the hallway, and with the help of another man carried it outside to the dumpster. When the porters threw the suitcase into the dumpster, it opened to reveal the headless torso of a black woman; the hands were missing, and the legs had been severed and were missing from below the mid-thigh. A single finger was later found in the suitcase. Aleida Bonilla, Felix Figueroa, Douglas Robinson and Margie King Guest later identified the man with the suitcase as defendant, Roy Savage.
    Wolfscratch

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  11. There were times, when DMZ York prayed that violence would befall Sheriff Sills. Witnesses later told investigators that York had frequently led Nuwaubians in praying for Sills death. York told his followers that Sills needed to go, because Sills had figured out that York's real plan was to create an autonomous, independent state; as long as Sheriff Sills was around, he would be an obstacle to that plan.

    A few times, DMZ York would rebuke his followers, according to witnesses, because they had not acted to bring answers to his prayers. York scolded the Nuwaubians, saying that in the old days in Brooklyn, NY, when he prayed for something, someone would demonstrate their loyalty to him by making it happen. But now, York chided, none of his followers was willing to suffer the jail time that might come from eliminating York's enemy.

    * 'Other times, York would tell his people to hold off on the assassination plan, saying that the crime might be too easy to trace back to the source'.. .

    Wolfscratch

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  12. Relentless: Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills chases a killer

    In Putnam County, everybody knows Howard Sills, and Howard Sills knows everybody—except who brutally murdered an elderly couple on Lake Oconee last May. After four decades of always getting his man, has the sheriff met his match?
    May 6, 2015 Joe Kovac Jr.

    - See more at: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/great-reads/relentless-putnam-county-sheriff-howard-sills-chases-a-killer/#sthash.jBfQUKIy.dpuf

    WS/FX

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  13. Has anyone considered Dylann, the church murderer in Charleston, the killer of the Dermonds? I think Sills needs to look into the background of this guy and whether or not he knew the daughter, Leslie's family or kids.
    This is a Sills ego thing going on when he decided he didn't want GBI helping in the case. He should have accepted any and all help he could possibly get. It's been a little over a year now and Sills has not solved the case. Can he? Will he? I doubt it. His ego got in his way.

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    1. You have an unhealthy obsession with the sheriff. Creepy.

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  14. The Nuwabian theory is the dumbest theory I've ever read for any crime case. Please stop posting it all over the Internet.

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