The Case of Russell and Shirley Dermond, an Elderly Couple Brutally Murdered in Their Own Home

Picture of Russell and Shirley Dermond. (Image credit source here.)

Picture of Russell and Shirley Dermond. (Image source/credit here.)

88-year-old Russell Dermond and his 87-year-old wife Shirley lived in a $769,000 two-story lake home in the gated community of Great Waters, Georgia. Russell and Shirley were both from New Jersey, but had moved to Great Waters in the late 1990s. They were well-liked by their neighbors, and there was nothing particularly unusual about them. Shirley enjoyed spending her time playing bridge and going to church, and Russell liked to play golf.

On May 3, 2014, the Dermonds were invited to a Kentucky Derby party held by some friends in the neighborhood. Despite earlier saying they would show up, they never made it. Nobody had seen Shirley since the 1st, when she was playing at a bridge club. Russell was spotted at a grocery store that day, and had been seen on a golf course on the 2nd.

The Dermond home. (Image source/credit here.)

The Dermond home. (Image source/credit here.)

On the morning of May 6, after not hearing from the Dermonds for a couple of days, the couple that had thrown the derby party went to their house and found their front door unlocked. There was no immediate sign of the couple, and everything in the house seemed to be in its usual place. After looking through the house, the husband decided to try the Dermonds’ garage. In between the two cars stored there, he found Russell’s body, decapitated and with his head nowhere in sight.

By the time police arrived, there was still no trace of Shirley. Authorities suspected that she had been abducted, but had little hope that she was still alive. On May 16, Shirley’s body was found floating facedown in the near-by lake by two fisherman at a spot about 5 miles away from her home. Her killer had tied her body down with a pair of 30 pound concrete blocks.

The back of the Dermond Home. (Image source/ credit here.)

The back of the Dermond home. (Image source/ credit here.)

According to forensic tests, Shirley had been beaten on the head with something like a hammer. She had been tossed into the lake after she died. The cause of Russell’s death is still undetermined. Without his head, it’s been difficult to figure out how exactly he died. He’s believed to have been beheaded, possibly with a knife, only after he was murdered.

While the Dermonds had no known enemies, that’s not to say that the family hadn’t experienced trouble before. Their son, Mark, had been shot to death on his 47th birthday while buying crack cocaine in 2000. While Mark’s killer was caught, nobody associated with him has been suspected of his parents’ murder. Investigators have poured over the Dermonds’ relatives and friends, even collecting phone conversations and information from their college days, but have yet to find anybody with a possible grudge against them.

Putnam County sheriff Howard Sills, the man in charge of the Dermond case. (Picture credit source here.)

Putnam County sheriff Howard Sills, the man in charge of the Dermond case. (Picture source/credit here here.)

Due to the savage nature of the attacks, the sheriff in charge of the case believes that the Dermonds were murdered by somebody they knew. He’s suggested that the killer came to the house by car or boat. How exactly they got into the house is uncertain. While nothing was missing, the intruder could have demanded something that the Dermonds didn’t have. Rather than the work of a single person, there might have been multiple people involved. An unidentified man was seen on the lawn of the Dermond home around the time of their deaths, but authorities have declined to say anything more than that the man is a person of interest.

Did you find this article interesting? Be sure to share it on your social media and leave me any comments, questions, or theories you might have in the comments section. 

The Case of Timmothy Pitzen, a Missing Boy Whose Mother’s Suicide Note Promised He Would Never Be Found

Picture of Timmothy Pitzen and his mother Amy. (Image credit here.)

Picture of Timmothy Pitzen and his mother Amy. (Image credit here.)

On May 11, 2011, Amy Fry-Pitzen picked her 6-year-old son Timmothy up from his kindergarten class at Greenman Elementary School in Aurora, Illinois. It was only 8:35 AM, but Amy said that the boy had to leave early because of a family emergency. When Amy’s husband and Timmothy’s father James arrived at the school to pick Timmothy up at the usual time, he was surprised to hear that Amy had already gotten Timmothy. As he told school officials, he didn’t know of any family emergency. He tried calling Amy afterward, but she never picked up her phone.

Surveillance footage of Amy and Timmothy leaving his school. (Image credit here.)

Surveillance footage of Amy and Timmothy leaving his school. (Image credit here.)

Two days after Amy and Timmothy disappeared, Amy used her cellphone to call some of her friends and family to tell them that she and her son were okay. Timmothy was heard in the background by a few of the callers, and some of them even had a conversation with him. The same night, Amy checked into a motel in Illinois by herself. Her body was found dead the next afternoon by hotel employees.

Amy had slashed her wrists and taken a fatal dose of antihistamines. No trace of Timmothy was anywhere to be found, and Amy’s cellphone was also missing.  A suicide note Amy left behind promised that Timmothy was safe with people who would take care of him, but claimed that he would never be found. While investigators found a stain of Timmothy’s blood in Amy’s SUV, they weren’t sure how old it was. Relatives said it was probably from a nosebleed the boy had more than a year before.

Amy Fry-Pitzen's SUV. (Image credit here.)

Amy Fry-Pitzen’s SUV. (Image credit here.)

From eyewitness reports and surveillance footage, we know that Amy and Timmothy went to a car repair shop after Amy had gotten him from school. They went to the zoo as they waited for the car to get fixed, and then Amy drove them to the KeyLime Cove Resort. In the morning, they went to another resort, this time in Wisconsin. They stayed the night there, and Timmothy was seen in line with Amy when she checked out around 10 AM. Amy made her phone calls at 1:30 PM, but was seen shopping back in Illinois around 7 PM. She checked into the Rockford Inn around 11 PM, the last time she was seen alive.

Surveillance footage of Amy walking into a store a few hours before her death. (Image credit here.)

Surveillance footage of Amy walking into a store a few hours before her death. (Image credit here.)

While Amy suffered from depression and had once made a suicide attempt before, her family and friends don’t believe that she had any reason to hurt Timmothy. Police suspect that the whole affair had been planned, and Amy had traveled to a few of the spots included in her trip a few months before her death.

(The left picture is of Timmothy before his disappearance. The right is an age-progression picture of what Timmothy might look like as a 10-year-old. (Image credit here.)

(The left picture is of Timmothy before his disappearance. The right is an age-progression picture of what Timmothy might look like as a 10-year-old. (Image credit here.)

In October 2013, Amy’s phone was turned into police by a woman who had found it along a road in Illinois 2 years earlier. The phone, however, contained no further clues, and a search of the area where it was found turned up nothing. A review of her phone records and emails have shown that Amy wasn’t in contact with anybody who her family was unfamiliar with. While there have been unconfirmed sightings of Timmothy since his disappearance, there is a bleak suspicion that Amy might have lied about his whereabouts and committed suicide after killing him.

The “Death to Pedophiles” Skull

Antibes, France.

Antibes, France.

On February 10, 2012, a professional diver looking for sea urchins off the resort of Antibes in southeastern France found something far grislier: a human skull. The skull, which was discovered on a seabed that was 10 meters (32 feet) deep into the water, had the words “Death to pedophiles” drawn on it, along with the scribbling of a shooting target.

The diver called the police, and several more dives in the area turned up a pair of arm bones, a leg bone, and part of a jawbone. Forensic tests determined that the bones had belonged to four different people, two men and two women. The skull was estimated to have been that of a 50-year-old man, and the rest of the bones, which were difficult to examine, might have come from people under the age of 30. It’s possible that the bones had been underwater for over a decade.

The upper arm bone discovered.

One of the discovered arm bones.

Authorities have launched an inquiry into cases of murder, kidnapping, imprisoning, and taking and receiving corpses. It’s believed that the bones belonged to the victims of a serial killer. Stephane Bourgoin, a criminologist and expert on serial killers, has suggested that the murderer lives in the area or knows it well.

Stephane Hirson.

Stephane Hirson.

Through further DNA tests, one of the arm bones was eventually identified as belonging to Stephane Hirson, a 17-year-old teenager from Paris who went missing shortly before his 18th birthday in February 1994. Hirson, who suffered from mental problems and had spent time in a psychiatric hospital, left his house without any money or personal belongings.

Some family members, however, were skeptical. One relative said in an interview with French radio that Hirson had no reason to be in southern France, and he had earlier told his mother that he was planning to go to Spain. Another DNA test was conducted, this time from the young man’s father, and the results determined that the bone wasn’t Hirson’s after all.

Intrigued by this story? Click here to like us on Facebook and keep up with our latest articles.