Sheriff ‘hopes to find’ remains of Lyon sisters today

WASHINGTON  — The almost 40-year search for Montgomery County sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon may be coming to a conclusion.

At a news conference in southwest Virginia, Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown says investigators have tips and evidence leading them to begin a forensics search on Taylor’s Mountain.

With a medical examiner standing by, and FBI forensics experts on the scene, Brown was asked whether he expects to find human remains Monday.

“We would hope to, I can’t say if we expect to,” says Brown.

Brown would not discuss the investigative developments that led to the search of the mountain, in the Thaxton area of Bedford County, but said X-ray and police dogs have been part of the search.

Brown expects the dig to last two days, weather permitting.

The Lyon sisters disappeared from Wheaton Plaza in Maryland in March 1975, after going to the mall for lunch.

Lloyd Lee Welch, a convicted sex offender, has been named a person of interest in the case, as has his uncle, Richard, who was a security guard at Wheaton Plaza when the girls disappeared.

Neither has been charged.

The senior Welch’s wife, Patricia Jean Welch, has been indicted on lying to a Bedford County grand jury in the case.

Montgomery County Police Lt. Sean Gagen said the Lyon family has been apprised of the latest developments in the investigation.

At the news conference, Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz repeated his call for help from the public.

“Human information is the key to this case,” says Krantz. “To those who have knowledge and willfully withhold it, that is not only obstructing, it is morally wrong.”

“It is just as much our job in this case to clear the innocent, as it is to convict the guilty, and to bring resolution to these parents.”

Brown says the search will be “tenacious” with the goal of “locating these children and providing the parents closure in this nightmare that no parent should be forced to endure.”

Krantz made a human appeal: “You’re not just helping law enforcement do its job, you’re helping a mother and father have some peace.”

“I am appealing for people to come forward to do the right thing, to bring these children home,” said Krantz.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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