The gory clues of a murder mystery were left to baffle investigators at an exclusive gated community in Georgia. An 88-year-old man’s decapitated body and head were found, while his wife is feared abducted or killed.
Friends found the mutilated body of the elderly Russell Dermond on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.
An autopsy revealed Dermond had died of a head or brain injury before being decapitated, according to the coroner’s report.
Investigators are still searching for his 87-year-old wife Shirley, who has gone missing.
"We looked in the woods adjacent to the house, we looked in the lake," Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said during a news conference. His team is being aided by the FBI as they search for the missing woman.
"Her pocketbook and things like that are there, her cellphone is there, the car is there — we don't have anything to track."
Sills said the case is particularly frustrating since investigators have little evidence from which to generate a lead.
“You've got such unusual circumstances here," Sills said. "If it's an abduction, you would expect some sort of extortion demand. If it was an assassination, you'd think both bodies would be there. And then you have, totally, nothing in their background that indicates anything like this, and then the area where it happened is not indicative of any type of homicide."
But the murder doesn’t appear to be random, Sills said. There were no signs of struggle or forced entry at the couple’s lakefront home, nor was a ransom note left behind.
The grisly events have shocked the quiet resort community 75 miles east of Atlanta.
"There is no crime in this area, no crime whatsoever," resident Lillian Butterworth told CNN. "Nothing has ever happened here before, so this has been a shock to us."
Meanwhile, the search continues for Shirley Dermond.
"We need to assume, or at least pray, that Mrs. Dermond is still alive, and we desperately need to know her whereabouts," said Sheriff Sills.