What began as a fun shopping trip for the Lyon sisters ended in mystery and tragedy as the sisters entered a Maryland mall in 1975 and were never seen again. Though a thorough investigation was conducted, no bodies were found, and the case for ten-year-old Sheila Lyon and twelve-year-old Katherine Lyon went cold.
Recently, a cold case investigator with Montgomery County Police Department noticed a match between a witness sketch from the case of the Lyon sisters with a 1970's mugshot of Lloyd Lee "Michael" Welch, Jr., who is a known sex offender, and currently serving time in prison.
According to NBC, Welch was closely examined after the disappearance of the sisters in March of 1975. Lloyd repeatedly insisted he had nothing to do with the Lyon sisters, and said he saw the girls get into a car with an unknown man. A polygraph test showed Welch was being dishonest.
Lloyd has since claimed that his uncle and cousin kidnapped and molested the Lyon sisters, and he had no knowledge of where they were buried, but another prisoner in the same cell block as Welch said the sisters were buried on family land in Virginia.
Following this lead, investigators uncovered approximately 30 graves, although only one tombstone from 1906 was found.
In a truly chilling discovery, police interviewed a man who said he helped Welch burn two duffle bags in 1975 which sported red stains, weighed around 60 pounds, and "smelled like death".
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy says he is planning to move forward with a "no-body" case.
"Typically in a homicide you have an autopsy and you have a body and you can prove what the cause and mechanism of death is. In a no-body murder case you have to prove that they are in fact dead and you have to prove the agent by which they died."McCarthy was in college at the time of the disappearance of the girls. He said the entire community was largely impacted by the tragedy.
"This case has never left the collective consciousness of this police department nor our community."According to WDBJ7,Welch's niece and nephew have come forward with new information regarding the Lyon sisters. Connie Akers remembers Lloyd bringing two large duffle bags that "smelled of decomposition" and bloody clothing to Taylor Mountain. Her brother, Henry Parker, said he assisted his uncle in tossing the bags into a fire.
A search warrant from January shows the police uncovered possible bone fragments.
Yesterday, Welch was charged with two counts of felony first degree murder in the case of the Lyon sisters. Finally, after 40 years, the Lyon sisters and three generations of their relatives will receive justice and closure.
WATCH LIVE AT NOON: Second Lyon sisters news conference today http://t.co/2M5VK4kU0spic.twitter.com/ttbMFEHpPr[Image via ABC13]
— ABC13News (@ABC13News) July 16, 2015