$30,000 reward for leads in Eatonton decapitation

A $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killers of an elderly Eatonton couple has been established, and the sheriff leading the probe is asking his constitutents to contribute.

In a letter distributed Monday, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills announced that Reynolds Plantation — the exclusive community where Russell and Shirley Dermond lived — has donated $30,000 to the reward fund. The decapitated body of Russell Dermond, 88, was found last month by neighbors in the couple’s garage. Eleven days later, his 87-year-old wife’s body was recovered from Lake Oconee.

Sills said he’s never solicited a reward in his 40 years in law enforcement but believes establishing one now “may well be the thing that will enable us to break this very difficult case.”

Leads have been tough to come by in case that’s confounded investigators.

Sills said he doesn’t believe the killers were professionals and thinks the Dermonds were at least “minimally acquainted” with their assailants. Both the sheriff and FBI profilers who have examined the case believe there are at least two people involved.

The reward fund was set up through The Peoples Bank, and anyone wishing to contribute can do so at any of the bank’s branch offices.

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