A task force that includes a number of FBI evidence recovery personnel recently finished a forensic dig in the mountains of central Virginia, hoping to find evidence that will discover what happened to two sisters that went missing in this cold case from 40 years ago.
In 1975, Sheila (12) and Katherine Lyon (10) were last seen while walking to Wheaton Plaza Mall in Wheaton, MD. The two lived in nearby Kensington, and the walk to the mall was relatively short.
Last year, two people of interest in the case were named: a Delaware prison inmate named Lloyd Lee Welch, Jr. and his uncle, Richard Allen Welch, Sr. Lloyd was seen at the mall the same day, and Richard was working security in the area at the time of the disappearance. Investigators are now focusing their search on property that Richard owned on Taylor’s Mountain.
Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown said that new information had led investigators to look at specific areas on the mountain. The forensics dig is looking into those areas currently, and the hope is that they will find human remains. The sheriff did not go into detail about how they came to the information that’s leading them to these areas.
The goal is to find out what happened and to provide the parents with some semblance of closure to something that’s haunted them for four decades.
Currently, a number of different investigators from a variety of departments are working on the case and scouring the area. The FBI, as mentioned, is there for evidence collection. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, the Montgomery County Maryland Police Department, Virginia State Police, and the Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are all working on the case. Randy Katz, Bedford County Commonwealth Attorney believes they will have resolution to the case, and said, “Our mission focus is to bring these children home if at all possible.”
In the 70s, the case went cold, but in October of 2014, a grand jury gathered to hear evidence and testimony in the case. They are still hearing evidence as of this writing. In December, they charged Patricia Welch, the 65-year-old wife of Richard with perjury for lying to the grand jury.
Witnesses said that they saw Lloyd at the mall and said that he was paying close attention to the girls. At the time of their disappearance, he would have been 34 years old. In 1998, he plead guilty to two sex offenses unrelated to this case. He is still serving his time in Delaware, but has denied involvement in the disappearance of the sisters in 1975. Richard is still alive, in his 70s, and the police are aware of his whereabouts in the event that they do need to charge him.
It’s still too early to tell whether the case will have the closure it deserves and whether the criminals will be brought to justice. However, it goes to show that even though a case may be decades old, the diligence of investigators can help to shed new light on those old cases. There is always hope for those who are willing to keep on digging.