Lyon sisters: Police dig for remains of sisters missing for 40 years

Lyon Sisters
Lyon Sisters

UPDATE 9/13/17 – Welch plead guilty to felony first degree murder of the Lyon sisters.  Welch’s attorney said Welch said he participated in the girls’ kidnapping from the mall, but did not kill them. Authorities believe he burned the girls’ bodies on a remote mountain in Bedford County, Virginia, where his family owned land.

UPDATE 9/8/17 – Lloyd Lee Welch Jr., who is now 60-years-old was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday for the murder of Sheila and Katherine, but the trial was “withdrawn” and a plea hearing was scheduled.  Word is that Welch plans to plea guilty.  A source confirmed the expected guilty plea to CBS affiliate WUSA9.  The authorities have also done a timeline of Lloyd’s whereabouts over the years.  As a carnival worker he went all over the US.  They are looking at cases in Texas to see if Lloyd is involved.

There has been speculation that Lloyd might be responsible to the disappearance of the Missing Trio, Rachel Arnold Trlisa, 17, Renee Lisa Wilson, 14, and Julie Ann Moseley, 9, who disappeared from a Fort Worth shopping mall in 1974. Read about the another suspect here.

Click here to read more about the Lyon case and Lloyd Welch.


UPDATE 1/25/17 –  The courts are seeking the death penalty for Lloyd Lee Welch, Jr.  The judge denied a motion by Welch’s attorneys to rule out the death penalty.  Welch  is to go to trial in April for first degree murder of Sheila and Katherine Lyon in 1975.  The Judge also ruled that Welch breached his 2013 immunity agreement by changing his story several times.


UPDATE 2016 –  Welch has been indicted for the rape of a 6-year-old girl in 1996. Earlier this year, he was indicted for allegedly sexually abusing another girl about the same time.


UPDATE:  10/16/15 – Lloyd Lee Welch, has implicated not only himself, but also an uncle and a cousin, according to newly released police documents. Welch told them he saw his uncle sexually assault one of the girls.  

Police affidavits unsealed in 2015 stated that a week after the girls vanished Lloyd Welch went to the mall and told a security guard that he had seen the sisters leave with a man in a car.  Welch took a polygraph test and it showed he was lying.

According to affidavits, back in 2013 authorities found a mug shot of Lloyd from 1977 that resembled a sketch in the Lyon sisters case that had been drawn based on a witness’s description of a man at Wheaton Plaza who was staring at the girls and following them.


Original story:  Lloyd Lee Michael Welch, Jr., 58, who is currently in prison has been charged with first-degree murder of Sheila Lyon, 12 and Katharine Lyon, 10, on July 15, 2015.  Bedford County, Virginia, commonwealth’s attorney Randy Krantz announced on Wednesday that a grand jury in his state indicted Welch and they will try to extradite to Virginia.

At the time of their disappearance in March 1975, Welch was working at a carnival.  Police have established he was at the mall the days the girls disappeared.  In 2014, Welch told police he left the  Wheaton Plaza shopping mall with the two girls according to court papers that detectives have filed in the case.

In November 2014, authorities began a forensic dig on a Taylors mountain in Virginia searching for the remains of the two sisters who vanished 40 years ago, reports CBS news. They continued their dig through March of 2015.  There has been no further news if they found anything or not.

Katherine Lyon, 10 and Sheila Lyon, 12, from Kennsington, Md., were last seen walking to the Wheaton Plaza mall in 1975 and have never been seen since.  Their disappearance resulted in one of the largest police investigation in Washington Metropolitan Area and is considered one of the most high-profile unsolved cases in that area.

In September 2014, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department began searching woods in Thaxton, Va. and a house in Hyattsville, Md.   Because of  information and some evidence they found, they have concentrated on the area where they are at today, reports CBS news.

Richard Allen Welch, Sr., who was a security guard at the shopping center is thought to own or once owned property where the authorities are digging today.  Welch is also the uncle of Lloyd Lee Welch, Jr., who has been named a person of interest in the case.

Welch, Jr. was spotted at the mall at the same time that Welch, Sr., was there and he was seen paying close attention to the girls, reported WUSA9 news.  A witness (that later turned out to be Welch) said the girls were seen talking with a man who was carrying a briefcase with a tape recorder inside and was asking children to speak into the microphone he was holding.  Welch, Jr. is currently in jail after pleaded guilty to a sex offense in Delaware in 1998, reports the Washington Post.  He has denied any involvement in the Lyon sister’s disappearance.

In December, the grand jury charged Patricia Welch, 65, of Hyattsville, Md. of lying to them in regards to this case.

“Our mission focus is to bring these children home if at all possible,” said Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz.

We’ll keep you posted if anything is found.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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