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A fresh start in investigation into Lake Oconee murders | Crime

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A fresh start in investigation into Lake Oconee murders
A fresh start in investigation into Lake Oconee murders

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga.(WXIA) – On the surface at least, things looked pretty normal at Lake Oconee as local residents prepare for the big upcoming July 4th holiday weekend.

But underneath, many are well aware that one of the area's biggest and most gruesome murders remains unsolved.

On May 5, the body of her husband, 88-year-old Russell Dermond, was found decapitated in the garage of his home in the Great Waters community at Lake Oconee. Eleven days later, two fishermen found the body of Dermond's 87-year-old wife, Shirley, near a dam at Lake Oconee.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills is obviously frustrated that one of his biggest cases of his nearly 40-year law enforcement career isn't solved yet.

"Unfortunately, I wish I could tell you that I had a clear suspect; I don't," he told 11Alive.

Sills called a four-hour meeting Tuesday with several agencies, including the FBI as well as investigators from the District Attorney's office and some neighboring counties. He said they wanted fresh eyes to help them sift through everything they had from top to bottom.

Sills still believes the Dermond's knew their killer, even if only casually, but enough to let their guard down.

He's still hoping a reward that's $55,000 and growing will persuade a tipster to come forward, no matter what their motive.

"Even if they don't have the civic responsibility to do it, maybe they've got the mercenary impetus to do it, and that's a pretty substantial reward," the sheriff added.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 706-485-8557.

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