The Lyon sisters vanished during a trip to a Washington, D.C., shopping mall on March 25, 1975. Katheryn Mary, age 10, and Sheila Mary, age 12, were never found. Although authorities followed numerous leads and identified several persons of interest, no arrests were ever made.
Authorities have now identified Lloyd Welch as a new person of interest. Welch is currently serving time in Delaware for sex crimes against children. However, in March 1975, Welch was reportedly present at the mall when the sisters disappeared.
Witnesses said the two girls left their home between 11 am and noon. Several witnesses, including the girls’ brother saw the sisters having lunch the Orange Bowl diner at approximately 1:00 pm.
The girls left the Wheaton Plaza shopping mall at approximately 3:30 pm. They were last seen walking down a street, which was adjacent to the mall. Witnesses said the girls were walking in the direction of their house. Unfortunately, they never made it home.
As reported by Washington Post, the search for the Lyon sisters was extensive. Local law enforcement officials were joined by friends, family, neighbors, and the National Guard. Although they conducted a thorough search throughout the community, no trace of the girls was ever found.
Police identified several persons of interest. However, they never found any solid evidence linking the suspects and the Lyon sisters.
In 1975, Loyd Welch was 18 years old. Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said Welch was a drifter, who was often seen walking down the town’s railroad tracks or hitching rides. Although Welch was not steadily employed, he spent time working for a traveling carnival.
Chief Manger said witnesses confirmed Welch was present at the Wheaton Plaza shopping mall on March 25, 1975. Witnesses also noted that Welch “seemed to pay special attention to the Lyon sisters.”
FBI special agent Steve Vogt has asked “everyone who may know something to come forward.” He said even the smallest piece of information “might be enough to put the pieces of this puzzle together. “
Although the Lyon family is cautiously optimistic about the new information, they wish to maintain their privacy. A representative for the family said “the fact that so many people still care about this case means a great deal.”
Welch’s niece, Debbie Roe, said her uncle admitted he was at the mall on march 25. However, he denies any involvement in the sisters’ disappearance:
“The only thing he said he did was walk around the mall… I think they need to look elsewhere. He doesn’t know where the girls are.”
Authorities point out that while Welch is a person of interest, he is not a confirmed suspect. There is no physical evidence linking Welch and the Lyon sisters.