Russell and Shirley Dermond

Oconee Murders: New DNA Found in Unsolved Dermond Couple Murder, Husband Found Beheaded

Investigators may be nearing a breakthrough in solving the brutal murder of Russell and Shirley Dermond, a Georgia couple found dead near Lake Oconee.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Russell, 88, was discovered beheaded in his central Georgia retirement home in May 2014. Shirley was found 5 miles away murdered and floating in a lake.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Howard Sills confirmed to 13WMAZ that Othram Inc. is examining evidence related to the Dermonds’ murders. Sills said DNA was found but it still needs to be tested to determine who it belongs to.

“They have developed an amount of DNA,” Sills said. “Now, this could be this could very well be the Dermonds’ DNA or some officer possibly even left his DNA.”

Sills told Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News that regardless of the outcome, detectives will continue to investigate.

We continue to try new things. We had something. Whether that’s going to evolve into something else, I don’t know,” Sills said. “At this point in time, there has to be some more analysis done.”

Previous 2014 Video Coverage

Othram’s Chief Development Officer, Kristen Mittleman, said that forensic genetic genealogy will be used for testing in the DNA profile.

“We singularly focus on how do we get that retractable evidence to give us the best looking DNA profile that we can so we can upload them to these genealogical databases,” Mittleman said.

Sills confirmed that he also looking into newly-obtained geo-fencing results, which help identify active mobile devices during a specific area and time frame, covering several acres including the Dermond home.

“There’s nobody on there with any kind of alarming criminal history,” Sills said. “And there’s nobody there, at least at this juncture, that I know has any connection to the Dermonds.”

Sills stated that the recently discovered DNA evidence could potentially mark the most significant breakthrough in the case in years.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Richard and Shirley Dermond/Handout]