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

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

  1. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    Just saying.. 'need' isn't always the thing. Often it seems that 'want', and 'greed', (and entitlement) might play leading role. imo.
     


  2. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, it wasn't ever said that the hair found in RD's hand had been proven (through DNA analysis) to belong to his wife. I am posting below what each of the autopsy reports stated in regard to hair. We have discussed this before, but note that SD's autopsy report states that most of her hair was gone due to decomposition, and also that her remaining hair was light brown-blonde and approximately four inches long. Meanwhile RD's autopsy stated that 'what appeared to be gray hairs' were found in both of his hands and on his shirt. RD had grey hair, however with his head missing.. there was likely none of his hair to compare with. (Hopefully there was a brush or a comb inside the home that contained his hair that could be used for analysis and comparison!)

    SS has said the hair found in RD's hands was his wife's, but has not to my knowledge ever indicated that this was proven by lab results. Is it possible the hairs in RD's hands were not previously able to be analyzed because they had no roots? And is newer technology of analyzing hair withOUT roots what is being alluded to in SS's comments (see dotr's quoted post below)? It says 'several warrants have been obtained in the process' - could the warrants be to collect hair samples from people SS has already interviewed? Do any candidates have grey hair? Could the hair simply be RD's own hair?
    From the interview 'Into the Case: S1E1 Murder Mystery at Great Waters' (LP is Levi Page):
    LP: The hair that was in Mr. Dermond’s hands - was that Shirley Dermond’s hair?

    SS: Yes. We, we *believe* that he probably *was* present when this happened and that might’ve been his attempt to deflect the blow.
    -----
    autopsy reports

    RD:
    pg 4:

    Other lab procedures:

    5. Hairs were collected and submitted as evidence.

    Summary:
    What appeared to be gray hairs were collected from both of his hands and his shirt.

    ===============
    SD:
    Pg 2:

    EXTERNAL EXAMINATION:

    The majority of the scalp hair has slipped off due to decompositional change. The remaining hair appears light brown-blonde and up to approximately 4 inches.

    Pg 4:

    OTHER PROCEDURES:

    3. A sexual assault kit [oral swabs, anal swabs, vaginal swabs, scalp hair, and pubic hair] is taken and retained.
     
  3. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    Should have said, 'did any candidates have grey hair at the time of the murders'..
     
  4. Peppery

    Peppery Well-Known Member

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    The hair in RD's hand could be proven to be his even without the head or SD's even if most of hers was missing. They have both Dermonds DNA. They dont need proven hair samples to compare.
     
  5. auburnmomof2

    auburnmomof2 Well-Known Member

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    I still have a gut feeling that RD had a child from another relationship. And that is the person who murdered them. My thoughts are that SD wouldn't let RD have a relationship with this child because it would ruin their appearance as a family. Their murders seem personal to me. Anger seems targeted more at SD because of the manner of death. They were a wealthy family and if he did have another child that he didn't help support growing up, this would cause someone to be very angry. Many families have dark secrets that are kept very close. This is just my random opinion and thoughts and I have zero evidence to support my opinion. Other than I've known men who had a child as a result of an affair and their wives were adamant that they have no contact with the child
     
  6. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    It was my thinking, after members writing about the latest hair technology, that if the hairs found in RD's hands and clothing did not have roots, they may not have been able to definitively determine whose it was. (If no root, then as I understand it, no DNA could be analyzed from it.) I know that prior to the latest technology, they could still take a strand of hair without root and compare it microscopically to another strand to see if it had matching properties, but it seems that method is very flawed and numerous wrongful convictions have occurred based on that method.

    Anyway, I'm not really sure what your post is saying... if up until currently, we couldn't get DNA from a hair strand with no root. We don't know if the hairs in RD's hands had roots or not, but IF not, then it seems the newest technology that allows scientists to get DNA from an unrooted strand of hair might be relevant in this case? First they would need to rule out that it was either of RD's or SD's hair for it to be possibly helpful in determining the murderer's identity. How could they do that, unless they were able to get DNA from the hair strand?
     
  7. Hella Sus

    Hella Sus Member

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  8. Hella Sus

    Hella Sus Member

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    Hi, new member here. This case has been bothering me...I recently saw that they assume that Russell was decapitated because the killer or killers didn't want the bullet in his head to be found. Meaning it was a bullet that didn't go all the way through...which limits to gun type. But I am more interested in why they wouldn't want the shell linked back to the gun. This has to be someone in their inner circle who owns a registered firearm. Someone that knows they'd be looked at, and knows the police would learn about the guns they owned. If it was a burglar, a hired gun, they wouldn't care about the bullet being found. Any thoughts?
     
  9. Razz

    Razz Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to Websleuths and the Dermond thread. This is the case that brought me here in 2014. We can always use new ideas. Great first post!
     
  10. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    There is really nothing to say that RD was shot in the head, it is only a best-guess by SS, based on the fact there was no blood spatter to indicate that it occurred inside the garage, so he goes on to also believe he was shot somewhere else and then brought back to the garage and decapitated (which totally makes no sense), and the fact that apparently some GSR was found on RD's t-shirt or something (I forget where exactly, but only a tiny bit), which could have really come from the killer's hands, or if RD had a gun of his own he had touched, or whatever. But if he WAS shot in the head, and that is the real reason why they decapitated him, then your questions are same as mine. I wondered if it could have been a police gun which killed him... but it seems that bullets from police weapons can't be identified as specifically police bullets, so can't be that. It seems that dare I say 'most' out that way seem to own guns? Would it be that rare of a gun/bullet type that identifying it would ID the killer? I doubt it?? Unless the gun had already been used in another crime, and bullet-matching could be done, and then the two crimes linked? That's the only thing I can come up with. imo.
     
  11. Hella Sus

    Hella Sus Member

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    Why take his head if not for some sort of incriminating evidence? That's what I can't figure out...
    Also, if it was to hide the bullet, this person probably doesn't use this gun enough to know it would have stayed in the skull.
     
  12. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking one of two things. Either i) the head was taken by a paid killer, to the person who 'ordered the hit', as 'proof' of death (doesn't seem like that would be necessary today, considering we have cameras which could have taken a good photo of the head disengaged from the body?); or ii) the killer(s) did this to make it appear to be something it was not, ie done by some drug-crazed crazy person, or by some crazy cult,.. staged to lead police astray, etc. (this to me, seems the most logical reason. All the typical suspects would not necessarily be looked at the same as just an 'average killing' (like being shot, or whatever), since it would be unimaginable that this would be done by anyone BUT a crazy mental institution escapee, a drug-crazed addict, or a crazy cult? It seems if this was done, the person was fairly intelligent and put a LOT of thought into the whole plan?)
     
  13. Hella Sus

    Hella Sus Member

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    I agree that the person or persons put a lot of thought/planning into the killings by hoping Shirley wouldn't be found and would be the main person of interest. The days before she was found, so many resources went into searching for her that could have gone into finding the perpetrators from the very beginning.
     
  14. watcher9

    watcher9 Well-Known Member

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    Was the plan to take both Shirley and Russell hostage for ransom or to be murdered? Could both of them have been walked to the boat first but Russell kept fighting them off and maybe got away? When he was caught back up at the house, Russell could have been knocked unconscious and then he was too heavy to move. Do we know if the autopsy showed any medical problem with Russell? They/he decided to take the head as proof of his capture. I think they would have ditched the head soon afterwards because of the blood dripping and it is somewhere in the lake. Would the weight of the skull bones keep a head submerged? Since the plan had fallen through, Shirley was dropped in the water before going back to the boat landing.
     
  15. MesquiteO21

    MesquiteO21 Please take the time to read "The Gift of Fear"

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    personally I feel that a beheading points to premeditated murder. Not always, because I suppose a sophisticated/experienced criminal could possibly resort to that if things went wrong. But seeing as how it's very difficult to cut through human flesh and bone, I'd wager that a beheading is part of planned murder like 99.9% of the time.

    as for the skull bones remaining at the bottom of the lake, i could see it getting lodged in sand or other debris for awhile. i would think eventually currents might move it, but that might also depend on how in tact it was when it entered the water. a blow to the head that would cause fractures would fall apart and be scattered sooner and more easily than if everything pretty much remained.

    it's so disturbing that his head is just gone....i mean it obviously has to be SOMEWHERE. did they bury it? it's just really dark to think about.
     
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  16. Jbetty567

    Jbetty567 Well-Known Member

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    His head is in the lake! Heads don't rise to the surface with gases, the way unpunctured bodies do. Lake Oconee is massive. His head is somewhere at the bottom. I think the same is probably true for whatever item was used in the beheading. IIRC, the police have never said that any knives were missing from the knife block in the house. Whoever upthread said that they suspect the beheading was premeditated - I'll agree to the extent that it seems someone brought with them quite a large/serious blade that was used on Russell. You can't behead someone with a penknife. So, if we can deduce that the killer(s) brought along a knife, gun, and rope used to tie Shirley, and arrived by boat ... this looks like a hit. Or someone very, very angry or vengeful. Also, I forget- were the blocks used to weigh Shirley down determined to have come from the yard? I thought I recalled that that was the case, but it's been a while so I'm not sure.
     
  17. Jbetty567

    Jbetty567 Well-Known Member

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    Again, I've never been able to rule out the dead son (Mark IIRC) having a prison buddy or connection who got out and either (1) believed the Dermonds were rich and went to rob them (maybe believing Mark's prison tales of his parents' expensive home, boat etc) or (2) vowed to avenge Mark being 'wronged' (i.e., written off) by his parents, perhaps having made some kind of agreement with Mark in prison to settle each others' debts. It's far fetched, but it would explain both the viciousness and personal nature of the crime.
     
  18. Ray_of_hope

    Ray_of_hope Verified registered nurse

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    I think that's probable but I did find this info. Bouyancy of A Severed Human Head
     
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  19. Jbetty567

    Jbetty567 Well-Known Member

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    OMG ew! Thank you for posting that! I learn something new every day on WS ... even if I didn't want to know lol.
    But seriously, there is a theory that Russell's head was taken by a hit man as proof of death, or kept by the killer as a trophy... I just think that's all extremely unlikely, and that someone has gotten away with this for so long because they likely very carefully disposed of all evidence. But then again, this case is crazy, so who knows??
     
  20. MesquiteO21

    MesquiteO21 Please take the time to read "The Gift of Fear"

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    i agree. i'm not sure how likely it is, but i've never been able to fully shake a possible connection to Mark. If i recall correctly, the sheriff has dismissed the idea but honestly you never know.
     
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