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Billboards Seek Tips in Beheading of Husband, Disappearance of Elderly Wife

A retired owner of fast food restaurants was beheaded at his home in Putnam County -- and his head taken from the crime scene -- while his elderly wife is thought to have been kidnapped.

Electronic billboards in south Georgia are asking for the public's help in finding Shirley Dermond, believed to be kidnapped after her husband was killed. Credit: Screenshot from WALB TV
Electronic billboards in south Georgia are asking for the public's help in finding Shirley Dermond, believed to be kidnapped after her husband was killed. Credit: Screenshot from WALB TV

As the search for the killer of an elderly Putnam County man who then kidnapped his wife stretches into its second week, electronic billboards in south Georgia are showing ads asking for information about the grisly case.

Shirley Dermond, 87, hasn't been seen in more than a week. Investigators think she was kidnapped when her 88-year-old husband Russell, was murdered and beheaded at their home on Lake Oconee. His body was found May 6.

According to WSB-TV, friends of Russell and Shirley Dermond went to the couple's home May 6 and discovered her husband’s body. Russell Dermond's head was not found at the Reynolds Plantation crime scene, the station reports.

Authorities say Russell Dermond, the retired owner of fast food restaurants, was killed on May 2 or 3 and his wife kidnapped. The attackers didn't use force to enter the couple's lakeside home.

Fairway Outdoor Advertising is running a plea for tips in the Dermond case on four billboards in the Albany area and two in Valdosta, reports WALB TV. The ads show Shirley Dermond's picture, announce a reward for information, and ask that tips be called in to the FBI at 404-679-9000 or the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 706-485-8557.

The hunt for Russell Dermond's killers -- and the abductors of his wife -- continued with a search of Lake Oconee and interviews with neighbors Friday, but nothing yielded results, reports WSB TV.

The Department of Natural Resources used side scan sonar to search the bottom of the lake and found no sign of either victim.

Investigators are finding it hard to track Shirley Dermond because her wallet, cellphone, purse and car were all left behind, the sheriff said.

Shirley Dermond stands at 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs 148 pounds and has grey hair and blue eyes. 

Residents told WSB the Dermonds were good people who moved to the home about 12 years ago after retiring. They retired after owning a chain of fast food restaurants.

The couple's pastor, Rev. David Key, said the Dermonds were friendly and had no enemies that he knew of.

He said the couple's children are dealing with their father's final arrangements as they wait for information about their mother.

"(They're) holding out and just really trying to put energy on finding their mother, not knowing her situation," Key said.

Patch's earlier coverage:

Police: Husband Beheaded, Wife May Have Been Kidnapped

Vigil Set for Beheaded Man, Kidnapped Wife

Lone Stranger May 14, 2014 at 10:30 AM
This is very disturbing.

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