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Missing Sisters: Katherine Marie and Sheila Mary Lyon - MD - 03/25/1975

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Sheila Mary Lyon
Left: Sheila, circa 1975.  Right: Age-progression to age 47 (circa 2009)

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: March 25, 1975 from Wheaton, Maryland
Classification: Endangered Missing
DOB: March 30. 1962
Age: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 5'2, 100 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female.  Blonde hair, blue eyes.  Sheila wears eyeglasses.  Her name may be spelled "Shelia".
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A dark blue shirt and wheat-colored pants.

Katherine Mary Lyon
Left: Katherine, circa 1975. Right: Age-progression to age 45 (circa 2009)

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: March 25, 1975 from Wheaton, Maryland
Classification: Endangered Missing
DOB: March 29, 1964
Age: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4'8, 85 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes.  Katherine has a birthmark on the inside of her upper thigh.  Her nickname is Kate.  Her name may be spelled "Kathryn". 
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A red jacket and Wrangler blue jeans with a front zipper.

Details of Disappearance

Katherine departed from her family's residence on Plyers Mill Road in Kensington, MD on March 25, 1975 with her older sister Sheila Lyon between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. The girls were walking to the Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center in Wheaton, MD, which was approximately one-half mile from their home and located on the corner of University Boulevard and Veirs Mills Road.  It was the first day of Easter vacation from school and Katherine and Sheila wanted to see the Easter exhibits at the mall, as well as have a pizza lunch at The Orange Bowl Restaurant. 

A neighborhood child saw the girls outside the restaurant at approximately 1 p.m.  He told investigators that the sisters were speaking to an unidentified middle-aged man, 50-60 years old, who was wearing a brown suit.  The man was carrying a briefcase with a tape recorder inside; there were also other children around who were speaking into a microphone he was holding.  The witness's description of the man led authorities to view the unknown person as a prime suspect in the Lyon sister's case and two composite sketches of the man were created.  He has never been identified.  The sketches are posted below this case summary.

The girls' older brother saw them inside The Orange Bowl Restaurant eating pizza together at approximately 2 p.m.  A friend stated that the girls were walking westward down Drumm Avenue near Devon Street between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.  This would have been one of the most direct route to their home on Plyers Mill Road from the mall and was the final confirmed sighting of the sisters.  Their mother had instructed Sheila and Katherine to return to the residence by 4 p.m.  When they did not arrive by 7 pm.m authorities were summoned and an extensive search was conducted.  No evidence of the Lyon sisters' whereabouts could be located.

Several extortion-type phone calls were made to the Lyons family in the weeks following the girls' disappearances.  The most serious call came from an unidentified male on April 4, 1975.  The individual demanded that their father leave a briefcase with $10,000 inside an Annapolis, MD courthouse restroom.  The money was left as per the instructions but was never claimed.  The caller later maintained that police had surrounded the courthouse and he could not retrieve the ransom.  Before the money would be offered to the man again, he was required to show evidence of the Lyon sisters in his custody.  The caller said he would be in touch with the family, but never called back.

Several individuals recognized the sketch of the unknown man with the briefcase who had been seen speaking to Sheila and Katherine.  They say he was at the Marlow Heights Shopping Center and the Iverson Mall both in Prince George's County, MD.  He approached several young girls and asked them to read an answering machine message typed on an index card into his hand-held microphone.

A witness in Manassas, Virginia reported seeing two girls resembling Sheila and Katherine in the rear of a beige 1968 Ford station wagon on April 7, 1975.  The witness stated that the girls were observed bound and gagged in the vehicle at approximately 7:30 a.m. that day.  The driver of the station wagon resembled the man seen questioning the children at The Orange Bowl Restaurant the day the sisters vanished.  When the driver spotted the witness tailing him, he ran a red light and sped west on Route 234 towards Interstate 66 in Virginia.  The station wagon had Maryland license plates with the possible combination "DMT-6**."  The last two numbers are unknown due to the bending of the car's plate.  The known combination was issued in Cumberland, Hagerstown and Baltimore, MD at the time.  A search for matching plate numbers failed to produce any information.  This witness's report was at first treated as credible, but was later deemed "questionable" by police. 

Fred Howard Coffey Jr. was viewed as a possible suspect in the sisters' cases.  Coffey is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for murder and child molestation.  Authorities learned that he began working at a scientific firm in Silver Spring, MD one month after the Lyons sisters vanished.  Investigators have been unable to determine if Coffey is connected to the cases and he has never been charged in their disappearances.

Investigators considered Raymond Rudolph Mileski Sr. another possible suspect in the girls' disappearances.  Mileski resided in the 5800 block of Suitland Road in Suitland, MD in 1975.  He murdered his wife and teenage son and wounded his younger son inside their home after a disagreement in November 1977.  He was convicted of these homicides in 1978 and sentenced to 40 years in prison.  Authorities seraached the yard of his former residence in April 1982 for material connected to the Lyon sisters' cases, but no evidence was discovered.

There was some speculation that the Lyon girls' cases might be connected tot he 1976 disappearance of Dorothy Schofield, but no evidence linking the cases was uncovered and all three childrens' disappearances remain unsolved. 

Above: Sketches of the unidentified suspect

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the Montgomery County Police Department at 240-773-5070.


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Retired Detective Breathes Life Into Cold Cases

Bob Phillips works to solve murder mysteries

By JOE KREBS and ARLENE BORENSTEIN Updated 9:00 PM EST, Thu, Feb 4, 2010

Some of the worst crimes are the ones that are never solved at all.

Cold cases and murder mysteries are especially haunting to the detectives who spend countless hours trying to figure them out.

Not to mention the families who have survived without their loved ones and moved on without justice.

Sgt. Bob Phillips, a retired detective with the Montgomery County Police Department has committed much of his time to try and bring closure to some of these decades-old cases.

"I actually started before I retired in 2000. I took it upon myself to start reading them. "

After he retired, he volunteered a couple of days a week to go through old case files. Eventually, the County got a grant to pay him for two days a week.

Many of the cases involve murdered women.

32-year old Dr. Le Bich Thuy was murdered on September 28th, 1994.

Phillips was still a detective with the department and remembers what he saw when they finally found her body at her home in Rockville on October 3rd of that year.

"I remember responding her that evening with Detective Drury and Detective Bond…she was not covered up but she just naturally sunk into this English Ivy and was hard to see," said Phillips.

The retired detective looks for patterns and evidence and when he finds something, he passes it on to the two active duty Cold Case detectives.

"I’ve continued to read all the open homicides that I can find. And I have branched out into rape cases, and we have hundreds of open rape cases," said Phillips.

Phillips is also working on several open homicides of elderly women, one in the Bethesda area and one in the Silver Spring, 24 years ago.

There are also the Lyon sisters from 1975. One was ten and the other was just 12-years old when they went missing while walking home from Wheaton Plaza.

Despite the years that have gone by, Phillips says he isn't quitting.

"I still enjoy it. I still have the desire, the energy…I have no thoughts at this point about not doing it."

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Endangered Missing



DOB:  Mar 29, 1964
Missing:  Mar 25, 1975
Age Now:  45
Sex:  Female
Race:  White
Hair:  Blonde
Eyes:  Blue
Height:  4'8" (142 cm)
Weight:  85 lbs (39 kg)
Missing From: WHEATON MD United States



DOB:  Mar 30, 1962
Missing:  Mar 25, 1975
Age Now:  47
Sex:  Female
Race:  White
Hair:  Blonde
Eyes:  Blue
Height:  5'2" (157 cm)
Weight:  100 lbs (45 kg)
Missing From:WHEATON MD United States

Katherine's photo is shown age-progressed to 45 years. Sheila's photo is shown aged to 47 years. They left their home by themselves to walk to Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center and have not been seen or heard from since. Katherine has a birthmark on the inside of her upper thigh.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children  1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)
Montgomery County Police Department (Maryland) 1-301-279-8000


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Sisters Still Missing 35 Years Later

Friday, 12 Mar 2010, 11:28 PM EST Published : Friday, 12 Mar 2010, 11:28 PM EST

By WILL THOMAS/myfoxdc

WHEATON, Md. - They disappeared 35 years ago from a Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center, and today the case remains unsolved. Back then, 10-year-old Katherine and 12-year old Sheila Lyon left their home by themselves to walk to lunch March 25, 1975.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is marking the 35th anniversary of their disappearance by releasing age progression images of what the sisters might look like now if they are still alive.

Robert Lowery is the Executive Director of the Missing Children's Division at the Alexandria based National Center.

"We will always keep searching for these children and we are convinced there is someone out there who knows exactly what happened to these girls. We can only hope they come forward," Lowery said.

Anyone with tips in this cold case can call Montgomery County Police or the National Center at 1-800-THE-LOST.

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Bedford Co. Man Issued First Missing Alert When Lyon Sisters Disappeared


Posted: Nov 14, 2014 5:36 PM EST

By Angela Hatcher


Bedford Co., VA - The investigation surrounding the disappearance of two sisters from Maryland has come full circle for a Bedford County man.


Jeff Pauley worked as a police dispatcher in Montgomery Co., MD in the 1970s. Pauley put out the first teletype to alert other law enforcement agencies that the Lyon sisters were missing.


Katherine Lyon, 10, and Sheila Lyon, 12, were last seen at a shopping plaza in Wheaton, MD in 1975. Investigators believe they could be buried on Taylor's Mountain in Thaxton.


Pauley moved to Bedford Co. about nine years ago. He is the county's deputy fire marshal.  Pauley said he hadn't thought much about the case until earlier this year.


"I got a phone call at home here in Bedford County from a cold case investigator in Montgomery County,” said Pauley. “She was calling because she had learned that I had lived a couple of years after this event in an area of Gaithersburg where their person of interest possibly could have lived."


Pauley said the investigator emailed him a picture of the man, but he did not recognize him. Pauley said he believes it's the same picture police released to the media.  Lloyd Welch, Jr. and Richard "Dick" Welch have been named persons of interest. 


Pauley recently met the cold case investigator who called him about that picture. They ran into each other in Bedford County at the sheriff's office. The investigator was there as part of the investigation.


Pauley is 10-12 years older than the Lyon sisters, but grew up in the same neighborhood in Kensington, MD. He attended the same elementary school and remembers walking the same path through the woods to the plaza.


Anyone with tips in this cold case can call Montgomery County Police or the National Center at 1-800-THE-LOST. 

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First published November 23rd 2014, 2:54 pm




Cold case investigators have been examining new clues in the case of Sheila and Katherine Lyon, 12 and 10, respectively, who went missing on March 25th, 1975 while visiting the Wheaton Plaza shopping center.


Police announced last week they believe a station wagon could hold the clues behind the disappearance of the Lyon sisters.


Last Thursday, November 20th, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that they are asking for the public’s help identifying a late 1960s or early 1970s vintage station wagon they say was “associated with the crime”. No further description was given, but police said they believe it “may be hidden in, or removed from a barn, shed, or outbuilding.”


In February, police named convicted sex offender 57-year-old Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. a person of interest in the infamous disappearance of the young sisters. Police said Welch is currently serving a prison sentence in Delaware, but he was at the Wheaton Plaza shopping center on the day the girls went missing.


More recently, police also named Lloyd’s uncle, Richard Allen Welch Sr., a second person of interest in the case. Police believe Richard Welch had worked as a security guard in the Wheaton area in the 1970s. However, neither man has been charged in the case, and police have declined to comment on the evidence they have gathered.


According to local NBC affiliate NBC4 Washington, detectives zeroed in on Taylor Mountain in Southwest Virginia earlier this fall where they were looking to recover evidence that would help “hold those that harmed the girls responsible in a court of law.” Detectives have also been investigating a property owned by the Welch family in the same area.


If you have any information about the station wagon detectives are looking for or any other information about the case, please contact the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 586-7827.

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Sheriff ‘hopes to find’ remains of Lyon sisters today

By Neal Augenstein

January 12, 2015 10:01 am




WASHINGTON  — The almost 40-year search for Montgomery County sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon may be coming to a conclusion.


At a news conference in southwest Virginia, Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown says investigators have tips and evidence leading them to begin a forensics search on Taylor’s Mountain.


With a medical examiner standing by, and FBI forensics experts on the scene, Brown was asked whether he expects to find human remains Monday.


“We would hope to, I can’t say if we expect to,” says Brown.


Brown would not discuss the investigative developments that led to the search of the mountain, in the Thaxton area of Bedford County, but said X-ray and police dogs have been part of the search.


Brown expects the dig to last two days, weather permitting.


The Lyon sisters disappeared from Wheaton Plaza in Maryland in March 1975, after going to the mall for lunch.


Lloyd Lee Welch, a convicted sex offender, has been named a person of interest in the case, as has his uncle, Richard, who was a security guard at Wheaton Plaza when the girls disappeared.


Neither has been charged.


The senior Welch’s wife, Patricia Jean Welch, has been indicted on lying to a Bedford County grand jury in the case.


Montgomery County Police Lt. Sean Gagen said the Lyon family has been apprised of the latest developments in the investigation.


At the news conference, Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz repeated his call for help from the public.


“Human information is the key to this case,” says Krantz. “To those who have knowledge and willfully withhold it, that is not only obstructing, it is morally wrong.”


“It is just as much our job in this case to clear the innocent, as it is to convict the guilty, and to bring resolution to these parents.”


Brown says the search will be “tenacious” with the goal of “locating these children and providing the parents closure in this nightmare that no parent should be forced to endure.”


Krantz made a human appeal: “You’re not just helping law enforcement do its job, you’re helping a mother and father have some peace.”


“I am appealing for people to come forward to do the right thing, to bring these children home,” said Krantz.

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New information surfaces in Lyon Sisters case

Web Staff, WDBJ7,

POSTED: 09:49 PM EST Feb 20, 2015    UPDATED: 08:06 AM EST Feb 21, 2015


There's a dramatic new development in the Lyon Sisters cold case investigation that brought detectives to Bedford County this past fall.


Multiple reports say the main person of interest in the case, Lloyd Welch, told authorities he did in fact leave a Montgomery County Maryland mall with Katherine and Sheila Lyon in 1975.


He also said he saw his uncle Richard Welch sexually assaulting one of the girls.


The new information comes from unsealed search warrants.


For much of last year, authorities in both Maryland and Bedford County have been looking at land that belonged to the Welch family on Taylors Mountain.


We learned bones have been found, but it's not known if they belong to the two girls.

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More digging in Lyon sisters case as investigation nears 40-year mark


By Dan Morse March 23, 2015


Investigators trying to solve the case of Sheila and Katherine Lyon — two Montgomery County girls who went missing from a shopping mall in 1975 — are conducting another dig this week in the Taylors Mountain area in central Virginia.


Investigators have searched the area off and on since September. Of particular interest in the case are 34 acres once owned by relatives of Lloyd Welch, a Delaware prison inmate who earlier was named a “person of interest” in the case. Detectives have spoken with Welch, who told them he left the Wheaton Plaza shopping mall with the two girls, 12 and 10 years old at the time, according to court papers that detectives have filed in the case.


The search is being conducted by investigators from the Montgomery County Police Department, Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police.


In a statement Monday, the Bedford Sheriff’s Office said, “The investigation has developed additional leads through supplemental investigative interviews that have found cause to conduct an additional dig on the mountain.”


A representative from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science also is on the scene, according to the Bedford Sheriff’s Office.

News of the new search was reported on Sunday by WDBJ-7 TV in Roanoke, Va.


Wednesday of this week marks the 40th anniversary of the case. It was March 25, 1975, that the Lyon sisters went missing.

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