Sex Offender Charged In 40-Year-Old Missing Persons Case

On March 25, 1975, sisters Sheila Lyon ( age 12 ) and Katherine Lyon ( age 10 ) disappeared from a shopping mall in Wheaton, Maryland.

Sheila & Katherine Lyon

Sheila & Katherine Lyon

Their missing persons case went unsolved for 40 years and was classified as a cold case.

However, a convicted child sex offender by the name of Lloyd Lee Welch, Jr. was named as a person of interest in 2014.

On Wednesday July 10, 2015, Welch was indicted by a Bedford County, Virginia grand jury.

The grand jury indicted Welch on two counts of first degree felony murder during an abduction with intent to defile the victims.

Police believe the girls were kidnapped while walking from their home in Kensington, MD to a shopping mall in nearby Wheaton, MD.

Welch ( age 58 ) is a convicted child sex offender who is currently serving a long prison sentence in the state of Delaware for molesting girls in South Carolina, Delaware and Virginia.

At the time of the girls’ disappearance, Welch was 18 years old and worked for a carnival in the Wheaton area.

Police were able to verify that Welch was at the mall the day the girls disappeared and that he had been seen paying attention to the girls by witnesses.

An inmate from Welch’s cellblock told prison officials that Welch told him that he buried the girls on a family property in Virginia.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Welch had been seen on the Virginia property with bloody clothes and duffel bags by some family members in 1975.

In January 2015, crime scene investigators began a forensic dig and search in a rural area of Bedford County, Virginia called Taylor Mountain, where they believe the girls were taken after their abduction.

Taylor Mountain is a remote area in Virginia between Roanoke and Lynchburg that is located 230 miles southwest from where the Lyon sisters disappeared.

Investigators have not said if any evidence has been found on Taylor Mountain. However, they did say that they believe the murders occurred in Bedford County and prosecutors say that they are prepared to prosecute a “no-body” homicide case.

If this case goes to trial, it would be the longest-recorded time period between a person’s disappearance and a “no-body” trial in United States history.

Law enforcement officials maintain that the investigation is ongoing and may involve Welch’s 70 year old uncle, Richard Allen Welch Sr.

Richard Welch’s wife, Patricia Jean Welch, has been charged with perjury for her testimony before the grand jury.

Investigators believe that there are other people involved in covering up this crime.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger stated publicly: “These efforts are not finished. Montgomery County Police and all of our partners will work to hold every individual responsible who was involved with the abduction and murder of the Lyon sisters as well as the ongoing conspiracy to conceal the crimes.”

The Montgomery County Police Department credits a rookie detective who works in their cold case division with connecting a witness sketch to a mug shot of Lloyd Welch from the 1970s that led to Welch being named a person of interest in the case.

The Montgomery County Police Department has spent more than 16,000 hours investigating this missing persons case in the past two years alone. The Montgomery County police department has also served over 50 search warrants and conducted over 100 interviews and interrogations related to this cold case.