Decapitation mystery still consumes Georgia sheriff 


Decapitation mystery still consumes Georgia sheriff 

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Christian Boone
On May 6, 2014, neighbors found Russell Dermond's decapitated body inside the garage. The body of his wife Shirley was discovered 10 days later floating in Lake Oconee. Christian Boone /

An elderly couple with no known enemies, brutally murdered in May 2014.

Russell Dermond, 88, found decapitated in his garage in their Putnam County home. Ten days later, 87-year-old Shirley Dermond’s body was found floating in Lake Oconee. She had sustained two blows to the head with a blunt object.

Who killed them, and why? 

More than three year later those questions remain unanswered. 

The lead investigator on the case, Putnam Sheriff Howard Sills, recently opened the case file for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

For the complete story and exclusive video on what Sills calls “the most confounding thing I’ve ever dealt with in my entire career,” visit

This is the first in an ongoing cold case feature where The AJC revisits some of the highest profile murders in Georgia history.


Millicent Williams, 78, was reported missing by her family from her home on Brookgreen Point in DeKalb County.
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