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Man facing trial in Lyon sisters case charged with rape of Va. girl

This file handout image provided by the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department shows photos from the original missing person/suspicious circumstances bulletin for the 1975 disappearance of two sisters in Maryland, Sheila Lyon and Katherine Lyon, who never returned home from a shopping mall. (AP Photo/Montgomery County, Md., Police Department)

MANASSAS, Va. — Lloyd Lee Welch Jr., already charged with the 1975 murders of Katherine and Sheila Lyon, has been indicted on charges related to the 1996 rape of a 7-year-old girl in Prince William County.

Welch was indicted on four felony counts on Monday: indecent liberties, aggravated sexual assault, rape and object penetration, said Paul Ebert, the commonwealth’s attorney for Prince William County.

Ebert said the attack happened in May 1996, in Woodbridge, Virginia — more than 20 years after 12-year-old Sheila Lyon and 10-year-old Katherine Lyon were last seen at a shopping mall in Wheaton, Maryland.

Welch was visiting the girl’s mother at the time of the Woodbridge attack. The incident was not immediately reported to police, Ebert said.

Ebert said the Prince William County case was developed by the joint task force investigating the Lyon sisters case. He would not discuss whether the victim participated in the investigation.

The victim, who is now 27, could be called as a witness in the Prince William case, and potentially in the Lyon sisters case, if a judge should rule that testimony from “other crimes” is appropriate and not prejudicial.

If convicted, Welch faces up to a life sentence for the rape and object penetration charges. The sexual assault charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and the indecent liberties carries a penalty of up to four years.

Welch, 59, is scheduled to go on trial in April in Bedford County, Virginia, for first-degree felony murder in the death and disappearance of the Lyon sisters.

The two girls were last seen at the Wheaton Plaza shopping mall in Montgomery County, Maryland, on March 25, 1975. They never returned home.

Prosecutors in Bedford County believe Welch burned the bodies of the sisters on his family’s property on Taylor’s Mountain Road, in Thaxton, Virginia.

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