Former Investigator Sheds Light on Case of Beheaded Man, Missing Wife

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By WGXA Staff

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Updated: Mon, 12 May 2014 10:05:37 EST

ATLANTA — As police try to figure out who beheaded an elderly Putnam County man and presumably kidnapped his wife, veteran investigators are giving insight to possible motives behind the gruesome crime. 

The couple was attacked in an upscale gated community on Lake Oconee. The husband, 88-year-old Russel Dermond, was found beheaded in the garage. His wife and his head are still missing. So far, investigators have offered little explanation.
 
WSB-TV's John Bachman spoke with former Atlanta police drug agent J.T. Summers, who said there are likely two theories in the case.  

Summers spent 20 years undercover with the Atlanta Police Department.  He also worked for the Department of Defense in Afghanistan tracking bomb-makers affiliated with the Taliban and Al-Qaida.
 
"As an investigator, first thing I would do is look at other parts of the country and see if there are other crimes that parallel this," Summers said. 
 
The FBI is involved, at least in part because Shirley Dermond is missing. But they would also investigate a multi-state serial killer.
 
"If it is a serial killer, he's operating in such a way ... he's been in that community for a while."
 
"I'd definitely be interviewing anybody on the lake for any single males, probably white males they've seen in kayaks or canoes," Summers said.
 
Summers said investigators are also likely looking at a connection to organized crime.
 
"This is something very common with drug cartels, which is prominent in Atlanta area. Beheadings are absolutely the number one way you send a message," Summers said.
 
Summers also said investigators are likely going through any surveillance video of nearby gas stations, convenience stores and hotels, looking for anyone who may have recently appeared in the area.

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Information from: WSB-TV

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