39 Years After Sisters Vanished, Suspect Named
Police looking for information on carnival ride operator
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2014 7:12 AM CST
This handout provided by the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department shows the original missing person/suspicious circumstances bulletin for the 1975 disappearance of Sheila Lyon and Katherine Lyon.   (AP Photo/Montgomery County, Md., Police Department)

(Newser) – Sheila Lyon, 12, and her sister Katherine, 10, went to see an Easter exhibit at a Maryland shopping mall on March 25, 1975, and were never seen again. Some 39 years later, police yesterday named a person of interest in the case, Reuters reports. Lloyd Lee Welch, now 57 and imprisoned in Delaware since 1997 on child sex-related convictions, was at the time a carnival ride operator and drifter. Police believe he was at the Wheaton Plaza mall, near Bethesda, the day the sisters disappeared, and say he was "observed paying attention" to the girls and may have been following them. They were last seen walking home.

Police have given no details on how they connected Welch to this case, though the Washington Post reports that when going through old case files last year, a Montgomery County police official says "he jumped out at us." Police say they don't have enough evidence for an arrest and are asking anyone who has had contact with Welch or his late girlfriend, Helen Craver, to come forward. Welch's stepmother tells NBC Washington she remembers Welch watching the news about the disappearance on TV: "They were talking about a reward for information," she says. "Lloyd thought he was going to get something in it, I reckon, and he called in and said he knew something, but I don't think he knew a darn thing."

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curt pedersen
Feb 12, 2014 9:14 PM CST
How horribly sad. Every child should be able to walk from their home to anywhere else and back safely. Adults who stalk them need to carefully consider their self worth and if they need to be existing side by side with the rest of us in this society. With that said, as long as child molesters receive super long sentences, along with mandatory registering as a sex offender for life, punishments that are way more harsh and severe than what a murderer receives, then they will always view the option of killing their victims to be the better choice. Our court systems and laws have created this paradox and as such, many more of our children will continue to be slain for the foreseeable future, rather than simply molested. I hope those two little girls and all children who have been in the hands of these people are at peace.
Feb 12, 2014 12:49 PM CST
"...they don't have enough evidence for an arrest..." wtf? The guy is ALREADY imprisoned. Way to go Evann, nice reporting and research, NOT.
Feb 12, 2014 11:53 AM CST
poor,sweet, little girls. There was no black man without an alibi around in Maryland in 1975?