One day in March of 1975, 12-year-old Sheila Lyon and 10-year-old Katharine Lyon walked to the suburban Maryland Wheaton Plaza Mall. They never came back, and their bodies were never found.
Now, after years of fruitless investigation and 10 months of secret grand jury meetings in Bedford County, Va., child sex offender Lloyd Lee Michael Welch Jr., 58, has been indicted for their murder. Welch is currently serving time at a Delaware prison, but authorities will try to extradite him to Virginia to face the charges.
Welch, who was an 18-year-old carnival employee at the time, was established to have been at the mall on the day of the Lyons’ disappearance.
The Associated Press reports:
According to police affidavits obtained by The [Washington] Post, Lloyd Welch told investigators that he left the mall with the two girls and that he saw his uncle sexually assaulting one of them at his home the next day. Lloyd Welch told investigators he left the home and never saw the girls again, according to the affidavits.
The Post also reported that Welch asked a relative in rural Virginia to wash bloody clothes that he was carrying in a duffel bag, according to a search warrant affidavit. Welch told the relative that the blood was from raw hamburger, but investigators believe that it could link him to the Lyon sisters’ presumed deaths, The Post reported, citing the affidavit.
Welch had returned to the mall following the Lyons’ disappearance to provide what was later proven to be false information about the girls’ whereabouts. He has also written to his stepmother from prison, advising her on how to deal with any detectives that might be looking for him. In other words, this dude can’t stop acting shady.
“The abduction of Sheila and Katherine Lyon has haunted this community and this police department,” said Montgomery County police chief Thomas Manger in a press conference. “[The department] has never given up on finding these girls.”
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via AP