Convicted Sex Offender Linked To 1975 Disappearance Of 2 Md. Sisters

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Jessica Kartalija 3 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJZ)–Almost 40 years after two Maryland sisters went missing, police have named a possible suspect in the case. Police say a convicted child sex offender was seen with the girls on the day they disappeared.

Jessica Kartalija has more.

The suspect, Lloyd Welch, was what police call a drifter. He often stayed in hotels and homeless shelters.

An extensive search for the Lyons sisters began just hours after they were due home. Sheila, 12, and Katherine, 10, walked from their Kensington house to eat pizza and see the Easter display at Wheaton Plaza. They were seen talking to a man who appeared to be showing them a cassette recorder.

They were last seen walking home later that afternoon. The girls have never been found.

Now Maryland police have identified 57-year-old Lloyd Welch, a convicted child sex offender, as a person of interest in their disappearance.

Montgomery County Police mugshot of Lloyd Welch, 1977. Welch was arrested for a residential burglary near Wheaton Plaza.  credit:mcpnews

Montgomery County Police mugshot of Lloyd Welch, 1977. Welch was arrested for a residential burglary near Wheaton Plaza. credit:mcpnews

“Investigators have established the fact that Welch was at Wheaton Plaza on March 25, 1975. We’ve also established that Welch was observed paying attention to the Lyon sisters while at Wheaton Plaza,” said an official.

Fourteen years ago, the girls’ parents, John and Mary Lyon, spoke about the case. As you might expect, beyond the devastating grief, they talk of feeling cheated of so many things they never got to do with their little girls.

“Brides that he didn’t get to walk down the aisle, grandchildren we didn’t get to have. The sons-in-law we didn’t get to have,” Mary Lyon said.

Now, almost 40 years later, this remains one of the oldest active missing persons cases in the country.

Anyone who may have encountered Welch is asked to call investigators at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or they can submit a tip online at: http://tips.fbi.gov.

Welch now has multiple convictions for sex offenses against young girls. He has been in a Delaware prison since 1997.

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