Police Theory Emerges in 40-Year-Old Case of Missing Girls

Sex offender says he was with Lyon sisters the day they went missing: affidavits
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2015 2:25 PM CST
Police Theory Emerges in 40-Year-Old Case of Missing Girls
This handout image provided by the Montgomery County, Md., police shows a mugshot of Lloyd Welch in 1977 after Welch was arrested for a residential burglary near Wheaton Plaza.   (AP Photo/Montgomery County, Md., Police Department)

Some four decades after two girls went missing in Montgomery County, Maryland, no one has been charged in the case. But in newly unsealed affidavits, police outline a theory of what might have happened to the Lyon sisters, the Washington Post reports. Sheila, 12, and Katherine, 10, disappeared after a visit to a mall in 1975. The affidavits suggest they were kidnapped from the mall before at least one of them was sexually assaulted. Both were then murdered and their bodies were left on a mountainside, according to the documents. They note that a person of interest in the case, convicted sex offender Lloyd Welch, then 18, said years later that he departed the mall "in a vehicle with the Lyon sisters on the day they disappeared." Welch emerged in the case long ago when, shortly after the disappearance, he told mall security he'd seen a man leave with the girls in a car, the AP reports.

In a 1998 interview—during which Welch was in prison after having pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a different 10-year-old girl—Welch linked his uncle, Richard Welch, now 69, to the kidnapping, the affidavits say. Lloyd Welch said he, his uncle, and a juvenile relative were in the car with the girls. After Lloyd was dropped off at home, the others remained in the car; the following day, the younger man saw his uncle sexually assaulting one of the sisters at the uncle's home, he said. He added that he left and "never saw the Lyon sisters again," note the affidavits. The juvenile family member who Lloyd Welch said was in the car, however, now tells the Post he wasn't, and that he doesn't believe his uncle was connected to the disappearance. "If Lloyd did this, I hope he fries for it," says Thomas Welch Jr. Richard's wife, Patricia, was charged with perjury in the case in December. (Read more cold cases stories.)

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