EATONTON, Ga. — A central Georgia sheriff has requested help from the FBI as authorities search for a woman they fear was abducted around the time her husband was found beheaded in their home on the shore of Lake Oconee.
Friends found the body of 88-year-old Russell Dermond in the garage Tuesday. His wife, 87-year-old Shirley Dermond, is missing.
The man had been decapitated, county coroner Gary McElhenney told WMAZ-TV. Police believe the attack happened sometime between Friday and Sunday.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills tells WSB-TV that he doesn't believe the attack was random, partly because there was no evidence of forced entry or a struggle.
Sills said Shirley Dermond's wallet, cellphone, purse and car were all left behind. That makes it difficult to track here whereabouts, he added.
"There is nothing out of place. Everything is immaculate," Stills told The Telegraph newspaper of Macon. "This is the cleanest house I've ever been in."
The community is guarded by a gate and security officers, and Sills said authorities are investigating whether the attacker may have approached the couple's home by boat.
"This is a huge lake, it spans four counties and entry could've been made by the lake," Sills said.
Surveillance cameras in the community were not working, Sills told The Telegraph.
Crews have searched part of the lake with sonar devices but haven't found anything, the sheriff said.
"This absolutely makes no sense at all," the couple's son, Bradley Dermond, told WMAZ. "We're still hoping that our mother is OK."
Shirley Dermond is described as 5 feet 2 inches tall and 148 pounds. She has gray hair and blue eyes. She is not considered a suspect in her husband's death, Sills said.
"We still approach this as if she's been abducted and we pray that she is alive but we don't know anything about where Ms. Dermond is," Sills said.