Cold case of missing D.C.-area sisters may have SC, Myrtle Beach connections

The StateFebruary 12, 2014 

The answer to solving a 39-year-old cold case involving sisters who disappeared near Washington, D.C., may be in South Carolina.

In 1975, Sheila and Katherine Lyon left home to visit a popular suburban shopping center.

Their mother expected them to return by 4 p.m., but they never showed.

They disappeared without a trace.

Nearly 40 years later, the Montgomery County Police Department Cold Case Squad and FBI Agents in the Baltimore Division have named 57-year-old Llyod Lee Welch, also known as Michael Welch, as a person of interest in the case.

According to an FBI news release Tuesday, Welch was noticed paying attention to the sisters the afternoon they disappeared.

Welch, a convicted sex offender, has been in prison in Delaware since 1997. For the 20 years prior, however, he worked as a ride operator for a carnival company, often setting up at malls. The FBI said he was arrested in several states and charged with sexual offenses against young girls.

Between 1988-94, he was arrested several times in South Carolina, on charges ranging from public drunkeness to grand larceny to lewd acts on a child. Those charges were based in Union County, Horry County, Myrtle Beach and Clover.

The FBI believes that there may be victims who have not come forward – and that there may be people with information who may be able to help them solve the Lyon sisters’ disappearance.

“We understand we’re asking people to think back several decades to remember details they may not think matter. However, the information you provide could be vital in our search for evidence, and put to rest difficult questions for the Lyon family and for any other victims who may exist,” said Steve Vogt, special agent in charge of the FBI in Maryland.

“We have all been haunted by the disappearance of the Lyon sisters. Even though so much time has passed, we have not forgotten that those young girls deserve justice, and their family deserves closure. We’re hoping one of you has information that will help us provide both,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger.

Anyone who may have encountered Michael Welch is asked to call (800) CALL-FBI, or submit details to http://tips.fbi.gov.

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