EATONTON, Ga. — A cold case is warming up as the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said there is new evidence in their search for who murdered an elderly couple, then dumped one of their body's into a rural Georgia lake.
It's been eight years since homicide detectives were called to investigate the murder of Russell and Shirley Dermond. Russell, 88, was found decapitated inside of his garage on May 6, 2014. His head was never found.
Ten days later, a pair of fishermen found Shirley, 87, dead near a Lake Oconee dam about five miles from their Eatonton lakefront home.
Their murders would be Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sill's only cold case in his 48-year law enforcement career.
"It's been eight years, I'm sorry," he said.
On Friday, Sills said he recently received long-awaited cell phone data. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents are assisting by analyzing the new evidence, the sheriff said.
"The technology we are using was not in existence back in 2014," Sills said in a statement. "I don't want to create the impression that I have acquired some silver bullet, but this is yet another tool we are using to find out who perpetrated these heinous crimes."
Sills did not offer other details about the cell phone data, or if it belonged to anyone from the small, rural community where the couple was found dead.
The sheriff has previously called Russell's beheading the most frustrating homicide in his career, and nearly a decade later, he has not given up on the murder investigation that has shaken the neighborhood that surrounds Lake Oconee.
Their son hasn't either.
"Obviously mom and dad at that point were in their mid-to-late 80s," Brad Dermond said. "If there was an enemy out there, (it) would have taken place a lot sooner than that."
In the sheriff's last update on the case, he said there were no fingerprints, foreign DNA or eye-witnesses. Hundreds of people were interviewed but investigators came up short.
"What we need more than anything is for someone to call us and tell us who is responsible for this savagery," he said Friday.
The Dermonds leave behind a daughter, two sons and nine grandchildren.
"That person with that little sliver of knowledge would come forward at this point lives -- (that would be) very much appreciated with our family," their son said.