FBI evidence giving investigators new hope in Lake Oconee murder case of elderly couple

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga. — There is new evidence in the murder of a Putnam County couple in their 80s.

Thursday marked eight years since someone killed Shirley and Russell Dermond at their Lake Oconee home.

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon learned that there is new evidence from the FBI that is giving investigators new hope in trying to solve the case.

The infamous, unsolved case still haunts Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills.

“I’m not making excuses for the work I’ve done. I know damn well that I’m the man responsible for this. It weighs heavy on me,” Sills said.

He told Wilfon that he’s cautiously optimistic about new evidence in the case — cellphone data provided by the FBI.

“I got some data just last week,” Sills said. “We’re searching through that to see if we may be able to find some clue as to who was in the area at the time. This was technology that was not available eight years ago.”


In May 2014, Shirley and Russell Dermond were killed.

Russell, 88, was found beheaded in the couple’s garage. The body of Shirley, 87, was found in Lake Oconee, tied to concrete blocks.

For the first time, Channel 2 Action News spoke with the Dermonds’ son, Brad.

“It’s still just as tough as day one. It’s very raw,” Brad Dermond said.

He told Wilfon that even eight years later, the family remains optimistic the case will get solved.

“We feel that there’s a very strong likelihood that it was done by more than one person. And anytime you have that, then there’s a greater chance for that information to leak,” Brad Dermond said.

The sheriff told Wilfon that unfortunately, leads in the case have really slowed down. But he did receive one earlier this week that he’s looking into.

If you have any information that could help, you are asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.


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