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Published:May 20th, 2014 11:26 EST
In the Baffling Russell and Shirley Dermond Murder Case, Is Motive the Key To Solve It?

In the Baffling Russell and Shirley Dermond Murder Case, Is Motive the Key To Solve It?

By John G. Kays

Two fishermen (Dennis Higgs and Ronny Sareo) found Shirley Dermond`s body in Lake Oconee on Friday (May 16th); this fills in the picture of the investigation a bit more for Sheriff Howard Sills (and for those of us essentially, on the edge of our chairs, as we follow this baffling case).

I looked at a map of Lake Oconee (projected by AJC news) meticulously, since now the Putnam County Sheriff is suggesting the killers (it`s interesting, the media is using the plural here) gained access to the Dermond`s mansion via the water. I had to concur with this conclusion, once I saw the body`s location was a good 5 or 6 miles away from their home; adding to that, the lake takes some twists and turns to get to this point.

As such, whoever killed Shirley Dermond, needed to transport her to this not all together obvious spot, on a very big and oddly shaped lake. From that transparent piece of information, I would deduce these people were familiar with the contours of Oconee; putting this whole thing together, somebody obviously knew these comfortable, elderly retirees, and put a plan in place to murder them, with an emphasis on the Devil In Details. 

That`s what I think; another likely conclusion emerges from this: the body of suspects included in this set narrows conspicuously. Considerably! So what is the motive?

It would have to be either money or revenge, but possibly a combination of both. One has to ask, what does the Dermond`s will look like? And what about their past lives and business dealings in New Jersey? The only new item I`ve heard mention of, is that Russell Dermond is a WWII veteran; won`t a hungry upstart of a news reporter dig a little deeper, into how he was able to build up a sizable empire of fast food restaurants? 

Granted, this would be a difficult assignment, but is necessary, if we hope to get anywhere with finding out who did it. Sills says he doesn`t require the help of GBI, but is he sending detectives up to New Jersey? I suppose the regular FBI could be helpful in this regard, but the work of investigative journalists functions aptly as a check and balance to law enforcement (one fathoms).

Somebody wants something? You don`t just go and kill an elderly couple for nothing; the children are saying Russell and Shirley hadn`t an enemy in the world. Well, they must be forgetting about someone. And one wonders how the perpetrators got access to the house? Was one of the doors unlocked? Did they enter from the front or from the back? 

I don`t believe they broke in; or did they simply ring the doorbell? If the couple knew them, then they`d have readily welcomed them in. This final scenario is the one I favor; Russell and Shirley had no rhyme or reason to suspect or to fear these acquaintances when they first rang the doorbell. I kind of think, however, some not so good karma dawned on them, shortly after they welcomed their known guests into their home.

And what about Sheriff Sills dismissing the flagrant rumors of a Mafia-type hit? That is, he`s verified they weren`t just stowed away there, in the exclusive and secluded Reynolds Plantation community, via one of these Witness Protection Programs; a gift since they provided vital information to the Feds. But what about the possibility the older couple simply created their own hideout paradise (of sorts)? This is what Jesse James did when he and his wife became the Howards. 

 I know I`m reaching, but we have to ask some hard questions; furthermore, we`ll need to construct some far-reaching scenarios or simulations, if you will, before we can come up with a model that fits all the facts. Cluelessness is not a viable scenario! In this bizarre Great Waters case, I sense the motive is quite a bit stronger than most homicide cases hitting newswires; motive is the key that unlocks this mystery.