Residents question decision not to call GBI for help in Putnam Co. beheading

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga. - Residents in the gated community where an elderly man was beheaded say they’re surprised their sheriff hasn’t called the state for help.
 

Russell Dermond, 88, was found dead last week in his Reynold’s Plantation home and investigators believe his wife, Shirley Dermond, was kidnapped.
 
Bill McClain lives in the same neighborhood in Putnam County.
 
“I’m just surprised. I would think they’d be calling in all the help they could possibly get,” McClain said.
 
McClain said he thought the GBI had already been called in.
 
Neighbors discovered Russell Dermond’s body in the garage of his lakefront home early last week. Shirley Dermond, 87, has not been found.
 
Sheriff Sills said his department has not found many clues to the crime or to Shirley Dermond’s whereabouts, but he said he is not prepared to call the GBI for help, instead relying on his own 40 years in law enforcement.
 
“If you can tell me something the GBI knows how to do that I don’t know how to do then I will be glad and call them,” Sills said.
 
Some residents said they support the sheriff’s decision.
 
“I guess it’s the sheriff’s call. I mean, I don’t really know what happened with the whole situation, but it really depends on what kind of evidence they have,” Cosimo Carbone said.
 
Publicly, the GBI has no comment on Sills’ decision, but privately some officials say he is missing an opportunity to use their resources. 
 
“I would think they would want something because it doesn’t sound like a normal thing that goes on around here, so I would want all the help I could get,” Jeanette Carbone said.
 
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has not investigated a homicide in a decade.
 
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 706-485-8557.