On March 25, 1975, Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. shattered the innocence of Kensington, MD, when he abducted two sisters, Katherine and Sheila Lyon. And though the people who lived in Kensington knew that life had changed drastically after the disappearance and murders of the two girls, they did not know that a local man named Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. was the one responsible.
Many unsolved murders have suspected perpetrators, but oftentimes evidence and witnesses disappear, and so homicide investigations go cold. Reopened cold cases rarely get approached with the same intensity as a new case - not because the police are less passionate about solving a cold case, but because the leads are usually much more difficult to follow decades after a crime is committed.
Nonetheless, around 2012, the Montgomery County police decided to treat the abduction and murders of Katherine and Sheila Lyon like a new case. The detective acted as if they had just received the call about the missing girls, and they delved intensely into an enthusiastic review of boxes full of evidence for any clues they may have missed.
Katherine and Sheila Lyon Were Abducted, Raped, and Murdered Five Days Before Easter In 1975
In 1975, Kensington, MD, was a typical wholesome American community. It was the type of community where kids rode their bikes without parental supervision and walked to the homes of their friends alone. However, in March of 1975, only five days before Easter, Katherine and Sheila Lyon took a walk from their home to a nearby shopping mall to get pizza and look at the Easter decorations. That day was the last time that any of the sisters' family or friends saw them alive.
A Massive Search Ensued, But No Charges Were Brought For Almost 40 Years
Immediately after the March 25, 1975, disappearance of the Lyon sisters, police and members of the Kensington community conducted a massive search for the girls. Sadly, the searches produced very little evidence and, even more unsettling, the extensive searches did not locate either of the Lyon sisters. For decades, the Lyon sisters' parents, John and Mary Lyon, were never able to find any closure. Not only did they not know what happened to their daughters, but they had no clue who took them - or why.
Detectives Reopened The Case And Acted Like The Sisters Had Just Gone Missing
Between late 2012 and early 2013, the Montgomery County, Maryland police reopened the Lyon sisters' cold case. However, instead of treating the decades-old abduction like an ordinary cold case, the detectives working it decided to comb through the old evidence and explore new leads. The police attacked the case in the same way they would attack an open case: they worked the old evidence like it was new. And they acted as if Katherine and Sheila might still be alive.
Police Discovered A New Suspect Thanks To An Old Mugshot And An Old Sketch
Through the detective's enthusiastic review of the evidence related to the Lyon sisters' abduction, police were able to make a critical connection. The officers noticed a striking resemblance between a mugshot of Lloyd Welch Jr. that had been taken in the 1970s and a police sketch of a possible suspect in the abduction of Katherine and Sheila. In 1975, police ruled out Welch Jr. as a prime suspect after a friend of Katherine and Sheila's told police that an older man with a tape-recorder had been following the sisters around the mall. Though the police questioned Welch Jr., he didn't become a primary suspect until almost thirty-nine years after the crime.