Court documents shine more light on girls’ disappearance

WASHINGTON – Newly unsealed court documents suggest investigators believe the Lyon sisters’ bodies were brought to a hillside in Bedford County.

Lloyd Lee Welch, 58, is charged in Bedford County, Virginia, for the deaths of Sheila, 12, and Katherine, 10, Lyon, who were last seen at Wheaton Plaza, now known as Westfield Wheaton Mall, on March 25, 1975.

Welch’s cousin, Henry Parker told detectives this past December that in 1975 he met Lloyd Welch at a property on Taylor’s Mountain Road, in Thaxton, Virginia, that had been owned by relatives of Welch.

Parker said he helped remove two army style duffel bags from Welch’s vehicle — each bag “weighed about 60 or 70 pounds and smelled like ‘death,'” according to this new search warrant affidavit, which was filed and sealed in January, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance.

Parker told detectives the bags, which were covered in red stains, were thrown into a fire that was burning on the property.

Connie Akers, Parker’s sister, recalled Welch asking her to wash his clothes, which smelled like rotten meat, according to the affidavit.

Reached by phone, Parker told the Washington Post,  “I threw some bags in the fire, but I didn’t know what was in bags.” Parker said he didn’t see the Lyon sisters.

According to the Lynchburg newspaper, neighbors told investigators they remembered a fire burning on the property for several days. One neighbor was quoted in the affidavit saying he remembered the fire smelled like “burning flesh.”

A search warrant return served at the Taylor’s Mountain addresses listed 23 items recovered, including burned objects including a plastic bag, plant material, wire and melted metal along with possible bone fragments. A search dog also had two alerts for possible human remains on a section of the property away from an abandoned cemetery also located there, according to court documents.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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