Putnam County, Georgia — a case that has captivated the nation — murdered an elderly couple for no apparent motive in a quiet Lake Oconee neighborhood eight years ago.
Karyn Greer of Channel 2 When she revisits the crime scene with a sheriff determined to solve it, she learns that new technology can help.
In May 2014, the bodies of Russell Dermond, 88, and his wife Shirley, 87, were found behind the gates of their upscale neighborhood.
“Her body was washed up on one of the treetops, about eight inches above the water,” Putnam County Sheriff Phil Hills told Greer.
Sills helps Greer trace the killer from the Dermond home (now for sale) to the middle of a scenic lake.
“We found Russell Dermond’s body minus (his) head in their garage, and about 10 days or more later, his wife Shirley Dermond Dermond was found. Her body turned up on Lake Oconee about five and a half miles from home. We never found Mr. Dermond’s head. She had been anchored or at least attempted to be anchored by two concrete blocks to the bottom,” Sears said.
How could someone load her body on a boat and throw it into the lake where no one sees it? Sheriffs hope some technology not available eight years ago will let them know who was in the area at the time.
“We’ve done some geo-tracking, we’ve got back information that the FBI installed into their software program. I had a box in my office, people who were in the area at the time. I’m not saying they were in the Dermond house, We’re working on that right now,” Sills said. “I’m sure some people are planning to come back. The reason is that the towel prevents the blood from coming out. However, it’s been three days for us to know about it.”
Crime scene investigator Sheryl McCollum also offered to help Sills run some new DNA tests on the recovered items.
“Have you tested the DNA of the guy on the towel?” McCollum asked Sears.
“All of this was sent to the Georgia Crime Lab. We asked for it. I hope that’s done,” Sills said.
“Does this sometimes keep you up at night?” Greer asked Sears.
“Oh, obviously. This is my albatross,” Sears told Greer. “It’s not a pleasure for me to be able to sit here and do that. They went through this horrific double homicide and I can’t solve it. It’s not pleasant. But I hope these types of interviews end up being Let someone call us because someone knows, and from a murder standpoint, whoever does that would do anything,” Sears said.
The sheriff said $45,000 would be made available to arrest and convict in the case, if the person who pledged to help the incentive fund is still on board, to bring the killer to justice and give the Dermonds family a sense of closure.
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