- Shirley Dermond was found Friday dead in a lake from a blow to the head
- Russell Dermond’s decapitated body was discovered in his garage May 7
- Police are now searching the lake for his head
- Investigators are still unsure of the motive
The 87-year-old woman missing since her husband was found murdered at their Georgia home and found Friday in a lake has been revealed to have died of a blow to the head.
Shirley Dermond’s body was found after missing for weeks since husband Russell Dermond was discovered decapitated on May 7, authorities said.
Russell Dermond, 88, was stashed in the garage of the elderly couple’s $1 million Great Waters home. Shirley Dermond pulled from Lake Oconee, only miles away.
Tragic find: Shirley Dermond’s body was found in a lake on Friday afternoon. Police have been searching for her since May 7, when her husband Russell was found murdered in their $1 million home
Shirley Dermond was killed before she was tossed into the lake by her murderers, a law enforcement source told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. she did not drown.
Divers are now combing the lake about two hours east of Atlanta for Russell Dermond’s head, the source added.
Sources told 11 Alive that a fisherman had discovered the elderly woman’s body near a dam on Friday afternoon,
Investigators said they still have no leads on the murder of Russell Dermond, and his head has still not been found.
They had offered a reward of up to $20,000 as police began an extensive search effort to try to find Shirley Dermond, and her husband’s killer.
Investigators in Putnam County, Georgia, are completely baffled by the gruesome crime and no one can understand why anyone would want to harm the beloved elderly couple.
A coroner said Russell Dermond was dead before his head was removed, and had possibly been shot or struck with a large object.
His wife was never a suspect in the murder, and this latest discovery confirmed that theory.
Nothing was taken from the couple’s home and their car keys and cellphones were left behind.
Gruesome: Russell Dermond’s decapitated body was found at the couple’s exclusive lake-front home on May 7
Discovery: Officers dredge a lake during the search for Shirley Dermond. Her body was found by a fisherman
Earlier this week officers began dredging a lakes and woods near the couple’s home for clues.
One of the Dermond’s three heartbroken children said the family had been trying to come up with a possible motive – but they say their parents did not have any known enemies.
Before his mother was found, 55-year-old Keith, from Jacksonville, Florida, told MailOnline: ‘We are completely devastated …The thought of her suffering is just unbearable.
‘Each hour that goes by, my brother, my sister and me are becoming more resigned to the fact that we may never see her again and we may never know what happened.
‘If she is still alive, we can’t imagine what she is going through. The human spirit is incredibly strong… but it has almost got to the stage where we hope she is with our father, just to ease her suffering.
‘Whoever did this was so sick in the head that I just can’t imagine it.’
Russell Dermond was last seen on May 1 at a supermarket not far from his home in the gated Reynolds Plantation east of Atlanta.
Concern: The alarm was raised when the couple failed to turn up to a Kentucky Derby party
Shirley Dermond had started the next day’s newspaper crossword puzzle, but no one had taken the couple’s May 3 mail out of their mailbox. That same day, last Saturday, the Dermonds failed to show up at a friend’s Kentucky Derby party.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills has said financial and phone records have not turned up anything to suggest the Dermonds would be the target of criminal activity.
Sheriff Sills has been forced to deny rumors that Mr Dermond – whose body was found in his garage – was in a witness protection program and may have been killed by mobsters.
He has also said there was no evidence that the brutal crime was in some way linked to the murder of the couple’s son Mark in a drug deal gone wrong in 2000.
Mark was shot in Atlanta as he apparently tried to buy crack cocaine on his birthday. Troy Major was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
He was also hit with consecutive terms of 20 years for aggravated assault and five years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He has tried to appeal twice, but both attempts were denied.