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To the Reynolds Plantation Community and all of Putnam County, 

By now, I am virtually certain most everyone in Georgia and a substantial number of Americans elsewhere around the nation are well aware of the horrific murders of Russell and Shirley Dermond of Great Waters that occurred sometime over the weekend of May 2nd.  Much of my staff and all of my investigative personnel have worked on nothing but this case for the last 26 days.  We have been assisted by the F.B.I. along with scores of detectives loaned to me by my fellow sheriffs from all around the state, and I am most grateful for all of their help and expertise. 

Russell Dermond, age 88, and his wife Shirley, age 87, were exemplary citizens in every way and deserved to live out their lives in comfort, but they were taken away from their family and friends in a savage manner that I simply cannot describe. This case is the most pressing matter of my office and will continue to be our number one priority. 

Early in the investigation, I received calls from businesses and citizens wanting to contribute to a reward for information in this case.  At that time I discouraged offering money, as I have found rewards at the onset of an investigation often become counterproductive and hinder the course of an investigation.  Now we have reached a point in time, some thirty days after these heinous crimes, where I believe a significant monetary reward may well be the thing that will enable us to break this very difficult case.  For the first time in my 40-year career, I am asking the public for donations for a reward.  

I have set up an official account at the Lake Oconee branch of The Peoples Bank for a reward fund for information that will directly lead to the arrest and prosecution of the individual(s) responsible for the murders of the Dermonds. I am pleased to announce that Rabun Neal, President of Reynolds Plantation, contacted me today to inform me that Reynolds Plantation will contribute $30,000.00 to the fund.  I hope you will follow Reynolds’ lead and add to our effort. 

My accountant has advised me that since my office is a government entity, contributions to this reward will be tax deductible.  You may make your contribution at any branch office of The Peoples Bank.  The bank’s personnel will provide you with an official receipt from my office. 

Please accept my heartfelt appreciation for all of the support given to me and my officers in this case.  The people of Putnam County have always rallied behind us during any time of crisis, and it is that kind of encouragement that forms the foundation of public service.


Howard R. Sills

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