UPDATE: Reward money offered in death of GA couple - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Reward money offered in death of GA couple

Posted: Updated:
EATONTON, GA (AP) - The sheriff investigating the decapitation of an elderly man and the slaying of his wife says reward money is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said in a statement that the president of a Lake Oconee resort is offering $30,000 for information leading to the suspects involved in the death of 88-year-old Russell Dermond and his 87-year-old wife Shirley.

Russell Dermond was found beheaded in the garage of the couple's lakefront home in early May and his wife's body was later found in the lake.

Sills says he's opened an account at the Lake Oconee branch of the Peoples Bank for a reward fund. Sills says he initially hesitated to offer reward money because it could've hindered the investigation.

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UPDATE
:  EATONTON, GA (AP) - Police say they have likely found the body of a missing 87-year-old Georgia woman whose husband was discovered slain and decapitated in the couple's home.
   
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said Friday that a body believed to be that of Shirley Dermond was found in Lake Oconnee.
   
A crime laboratory will definitively determine the identification and establish the cause of death. However, Sills said the body matched the general description of Dermond and had similar surgical scars.
   
Her husband, 88-year-old Russell Dermond, was found decapitated May 6 at the couple's home in their exclusive gated community.
   
Sills said the body was found five to six miles from the couple's home. Police now suspect that the assailant or assailants may have used a boat to gain access to the property and possibly took Shirley Dermond with them when they left.
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The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information about a Georgia woman missing since her husband's decapitated body was discovered in his home last week, Special Agent Stephen Emmett of the Atlanta field office said.

Authorities from local agencies, along with the FBI, are scouring for 87-year-old Shirley Dermond as they investigate the grisly murder of her 88-year-old husband, Russell.

Officials administered polygraph tests to maintenance workers with access to the gated golf course community where the couple lived, but the exams turned up nothing new, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.

Russell Dermond's headless body was found in the garage of his lakefront home in the Reynolds Plantation community on Lake Oconee last Tuesday by neighbors who were concerned after the couple failed to show up for a Kentucky Derby party.

Sheriff's deputies who responded to the call found no sign of Shirley Dermond, though her purse and phone were left behind, as well as the couple's cars. The deputies could not locate Russell Dermond's head, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

At a news conference last Thursday, Sills said he did not consider Shirley Dermond a suspect.

"The body was moved, and I just don't think an 87-year-old lady can do it," he said.

Sills asked anyone with information on the case to call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at (706) 485-8557.
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