GA GA - Shirley, 87, & Russell Dermond, 88, Putnam County, 2 May 2014 - #13

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by KateB, May 16, 2015.

  1. Jbetty567

    Jbetty567 Well-Known Member

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    The Colley case was solved, and is unrelated, unless it’s the same yard worker somehow. Not likely.

    I’m sure I’ve posted this here before, but I always wondered if the Dermonds’ son who died, whom they had allowed to go to prison for drug charges after he stole from them and fell off the wagon for years, maybe voiced a hatred for his parents while in the clink and one of his cell mates got revenge on his behalf. Perhaps they had some bond and the person was determined to avenge his friend’s betrayal at the hands of his parents. The son (Mark??)could have told the person where the D’s lived, their routines, about the house and lake. It’s a super long shot, but it’s more plausible IMHO than some of the other theories like Israel Keyes or the mob.
     


  2. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    This young woman's unsolved murder, occurred in NJ (where the Dermond's formerly lived) but of interest to me, is that her father was a food industry executive, also like RD.
    Perhaps/probably a stretch, but this is a very odd case, who knows what connections to other crimes it may have.
    speculation, fwiw, imo.
    NJ - Joan Kramer, 24, Columbia University student,Union Township, found nude&strangled, 15 August 1972

    JERSEYAN SEIZED M STRANGULATION (Published 1975)
    ''Miss Kramer was the daughter of Julian Kramer, president of Suburban Foods, Inc., and the Tanteff Beef Company. Her death had led to an intensive investigation by the South Orange police as well as by the Essex County and Union Coun‐i ty Prosecutors’ offices."
     
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  3. Jbetty567

    Jbetty567 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, Russell only got into the food franchise biz much later in life. For most of his professional career he was an executive at a clock company. The franchise ownership was only after they moved to GA for retirement.

    Oddly, my son subscribes to Golf Mag and I opened it and it fell open to a page featuring the Lake Oconee golf courses. They look gorgeous. My family is convinced I find murder everywhere lol.
     
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  4. Ray_of_hope

    Ray_of_hope Verified registered nurse

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    I think about this case from time to time. How sad that there's been no resolution.
     
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  5. PsychoBabble

    PsychoBabble Well-Known Member

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    This is the case that led me to join Websleuths. Great mystery, many theories, no answers after all this time. It seems curious that the family couldn't offer up any leads, but then again, we don't know. Sills is supposedly a very closed mouthed LE officer, as he should be I guess.
     
  6. Jbetty567

    Jbetty567 Well-Known Member

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    It was interesting to me that in the most recent article someone posted upthread, Sills still refuses to say that the family has been ruled out. His failure to issue a categorical denial of their involvement concerns me - it does not seem like an oversight.
     
  7. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    I am happy to hear that SS refuses to say the family has been ruled out. Unfortunately for the family, I think it is impossible to rule them out until they know what happened and who did it and who was behind it. That gives me hope that he is realistic and still entertaining all possibilities. I know he has said it doesn't seem like the family was involved, ie apparently all of them were far away at the time, they all passed lie detector tests, etc. That seems to be as good as it can get for them for now. Jmo
     
  8. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    As a long time recreational shooter, I can tell you that bullets are not marked for LE use. There are occasional instances where the brass case, which is either ejected separately or retained in the case of a revolver, is marked for LE use. But the cases are likely long gone, and it is the bullet that would remain in the victim’s head...

    However, bullets can be identified to a degree. The alloy and jacketing could be identified by the analyzing the metallurgical/material characteristics of the bullet, and can lead to identifying the manufacturer. Once the manufacturer is identified, the sales and marketing information for the ammunition might be available. Unless the ammunition was a unique type with limited, identifiable distribution, it is unlikely that the manufacturer’s identity would be useful.

    Recovering the bullet would likely yield the caliber, the barrel type, and the firearm manufacturer(s). It would also provide an example for comparison of cartridges fired from a potential murder weapon. By itself, the bullet in the victim’s head wouldn’t necessarily lead back to the shooter, unless they committed other crimes with the same weapon.
     
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  9. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    That's kind of what I'm getting at. IIRC, SS has said he believes that's why the perp took the head.. to hide the bullet(s). But seeing as how the perp still presumably had possession of the said gun at time of head removal, why would hiding the bullet be important...

    which leads me to wonder if the same gun has been involved in another known homicide, from which the bullet was fetched but gun never retrieved. I'm assuming from reading over time, that LE can match bullets having come from same gun.. but if the gun is still at large, then why is it important to hide the bullet and possibly it being linked with another death on record?
     
  10. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    It is certainly possible that the killer(s) are involved with other murders. There's a lot of planning that points to experience.. It appears that the killers analyzed just about everything. Use of a boat, cameras not working at the gate, timing, little evidence left behind - I think people who have never done anything like this before would leave more evidence behind. There are indicators that make this crime look personal, as if it was done or more likely, arranged by someone who knew the Dermonds, but we don't know much............
     
  11. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    So IF the perp(s) did remove the head to hide the bullet(s) so it couldn't be linked with another bullet out of a different murder, but he still had possession of the gun, why would that be so important as to take all that additional time and effort? All they might know, is that a bullet matching the striations of a bullet from another murder was used.

    Unless the other murder already has someone serving time, who doesn't want to be connected to further murders? But in a case like that, where the perp was caught but gun not recovered, couldn't it be said that someone unrelated to the first crime found the gun and did the second crime? So why the head?
     
  12. fred&edna

    fred&edna Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the points you are making.

    Also, even if the killer was only a suspect (not actually arrested/imprisoned) for previous crimes/murders... LE would still have to prove the bullet came from his gun, thus the criminal would simply destroy the gun to eliminate direct evidence. Right?

    I've always had problems with the theory (head removed to hide bullets) so obviously my thinking is jaded.

    It seems the killers take all this time to plan the abduction/murders... was the use of the gun just an "oops" moment on their part? I suppose that could happen, but is it likely? I just don't know.
     
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  13. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    If the bullet was recovered, the imprint by the lands and grooves of the barrel could be examined and possibly matched to a firearm or another unsolved crime. There's no certainty that could identify a shooter, unless the firearm was recovered and linked to the shooter.

    I agree that taking the head just to hide bullets seems unlikely.. It seems like some kind of savage gesture, almost a part of a bizarre ritual.. It is one of the most unusual cases I've ever followed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  14. fred&edna

    fred&edna Well-Known Member

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    RSBM

    And, it seems the killers knew how long they could remain in and around the Dermond home without being disturbed/detected. Or did they have a pre-planned "acceptable/plausible" explanation if interrupted?

    So strange. And, so sad these murders continue to be unsolved.
     
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  15. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    SS doesn't believe either of them were killed on site.

    Is it possible a couple of highly trusted people showed up unexpectedly, one took RD out for a drive somewhere under false pretenses, shot him in the head and brought him back.. while another took SD out for a 'boat ride' and bludgeoned her, then dumped her.

    Then the perp informs the person from whom theyd borrowed the gun that they weren't able to retrieve the bullet from the head.. so were instructed to remove it and take it with them.

    Maybe whomever killed RD was close enough to the Ds to know they had time and that neighbours were away..knew where the towels were kept.. didn't have to worry about fingerprints since they were known to have been in the home before.. etc.
     
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  16. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    A borrowed gun is an intriguing idea for explaining the missing head. If the owner of the gun was unaware of the plans afoot, it would have to be returned. The murder weapon would not be disposed of, and then the spent bullet could eventually provide identifying information. Still, one would think that whoever planned this would probably purchase their own firearm.

    On the other hand the both the firearm and the victim’s head could be in the lake... Removing the head could also prevent identifying what kind of firearm was used - it could have been a handgun, rifle or even a shotgun.

    I’d agree that the killer(s) must have been acutely aware of the Dermond’s routines, schedule, and their neighbors. And, as you note, they had been in the house before, and knew where things were. A family member, employee or a former business associate is what occurs to many of us. If complete strangers did it, perhaps there was surreptitious entry into the Dermond house for planning purposes while they were out, and careful reconnaissance for a period of time. Temporary cameras could have been used and retrieved. Perhaps the killers wanted something valuable they thought was in the house, like the case of the Clutter family in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”

    There are many horrifying crimes on WS, but this is also one of the most unusual. I hope it is solved. Just the thought of the perpetrators going unidentified is frightening.
     
  17. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Well well, look what will be on tv next week (Sunday)..

    ''SUNDAY NOV 8 10 pm eT/PT
    AN HLN ORIGINAL SERIES

    REAL LIFE NIGHTMARE
    Heart-wrenching, personal stories of unsolved missing cases and unexplained deaths that continue to baffle investigators and horrify those left behind. This series brings the mystery to life by unravelling the newest evidence and compelling viewers to hunt for answers with a call to action as police continue to seek the public’s help.''

    https://www.cnncreativemarketing.com/project/real-life-nightmare/
    [​IMG]
    ''November 8
    Murders on Lake Oconee
    Russell Dermond’s headless body is discovered in the garage of his million-dollar lakefront mansion. His wife, Shirley, is found floating dead in the water, her ankles tethered with cinder blocks. One key piece of evidence still remains missing.''
     
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  18. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    If the perp thought the thing they wanted was there in the house, then it doesn't make sense that nothing was touched. No ransacking of the place, nothing seeming to be out of order, and no weird fingerprints found even though SS mentioned they'd used a ton of fingerprint powder in there. No valuables taken even though some items of obvious value were left untouched.

    When I talk about a borrowed gun, it is more of a gun re-used amongst criminals, than one borrowed amongst friends. If the perp was someone close to the Dermonds, who knew they would be checked out after the murders, it might be look suspicious if one had purchased a gun in the time leading up to the murders. If purchased from a criminal, it's possible the gun could've come "used", with a history, and perhaps threatening instructions about leaving it, or any bullets, behind.
     
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  19. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    Although all of the accounts say that there was no ransacking and nothing seemingly out of place, it’s possible that one item could be missing, such as a portable strongbox or safe, or valuables in a box. The killers would have likely had prior knowledge of the existence and location of the item, or extracted the location from one of the victims.

    As far as borrowing vs purchasing a firearm is concerned, purchasing a firearm would not be suspicious at all, unless the purchase was illegal. I’ll try not to be too wordy, but here goes...... All gun sales in the US go through the FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS). The data is not retained or accessible by local LE. Additional local LE approval to buy most firearms is not necessary in Georgia. The research on guns used in crimes is done “backwards,” after a firearm is recovered or seized, and the purchase is traced through the serial number. Unless the buyer is in a heavily regulated state like California, New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts, there isn’t a local approval process in many US states, only the NICS, which is run by the FBI. If an individual was able to purchase a firearm after a NICS check, it means that the purchaser had no criminal record or other disqualifying factors. Thus, a purchaser wouldn’t “look suspicious” because local LE wouldn’t know if an otherwise law abiding person bought a firearm... Most states do not “register “ firearms, either. Firearms sales records must be retained by the selling dealer, and presented to the BATFE on demand. Local LE would only know about a purchase if someone with a criminal record tried to buy a firearm, or after a firearm was seized after criminal activity.

    Borrowed “community” guns are often used by gangs. These guns are often stolen and have serial numbers defaced, so tracing via the serial number is difficult, even if it is made readable. Such a firearm is kept in an accessible place, and used by gang members for multiple crimes. This arrangement is preferred by some gangs. The firearm isn’t traceable to one person, and the gang member doesn’t have to obtain an illegal firearms themselves. From what I’ve read, those who use these guns don’t take precautions to hide casings or spent bullets, because they think there’s no ownership...
     
  20. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    So how do we take all of that information and make it work with SS's belief that the killer removed and took the head to conceal a link?

    That is why I am wondering if the bullet can be linked to a previous murder where the gun was not recovered. If there was a link between RD's bullet and a 'community gun', or a gun used in a 'hit', it would perhaps lead police in a certain direction, toward perhaps certain groups of people to question, etc, which could possibly move the investigation forward somehow.

    Say police had another even unsolved murder from which they had the offending bullet(s), along with a good idea of who committed the crime... then RD is murdered with a matching bullet.. suspected perp#1 can now be linked with two different murders.. perhaps said suspect or his cohorts might be willing then, to drop some Intel about the gun, so as not to get charged with two murders,...... or something to that effect.

    Just trying to dig a little deeper into SS's belief and how he might be thinking it could've helped the case, if the head and bullet had remained intact? And why the killer would be SO concerned about LE harvesting said bullet, as to have gone to the lengths of removing a head with all of its gore and additional time and effort?
     
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