Sheriff promises major announcement in Maryland cold case

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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. — On March 25, 1975, Katherine and Sheila Lyon walked to the Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center in Maryland to see an Easter exhibit and grab a slice of pizza from the mall.

They haven’t been seen since.

Katherine Lyon, pictured, and Sheila Lyon went to see an Easter exhibit and grab a slice of pizza from the mall on March 25, 1975 and have been missing ever since.

Katherine Lyon, pictured, and Sheila Lyon went to see an Easter exhibit and grab a slice of pizza from the mall on March 25, 1975, and have been missing ever since.

Katherine Lyon and Sheila Lyon, pictured,  went to see an Easter exhibit and grab a slice of pizza from the mall on March 25, 1975 and have been missing ever since.

Katherine Lyon and Sheila Lyon, pictured, went to see an Easter exhibit and grab a slice of pizza from the mall on March 25, 1975, and have been missing ever since.

But there are major developments in the case, according to the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, which planned an announcement about the cold case Wednesday.

The day they disappeared, the sisters, then ages 10 and 12, were supposed to be home by 4 p.m. Their mother called authorities when they didn’t return, and a major search ensued, according to the Charley Project, a website that profiles thousands of missing people, mainly from the United States.

Authorities acquired more than 2,000 leads throughout the decades, never leading to any physical evidence.

The most promising lead was a witness in Virginia who reported seeing two girls resembling the victims, bound and gagged in the back of station wagon. Unable to get the entire license plate number, police later deemed the report “questionable.”

The case turned a corner in 2014 when authorities named Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. and his uncle Richard Allen Welch, Sr. prime suspects in the case.

A convicted sex offender who molested young girls in South Carolina, Delaware and Virginia, Lloyd Welch was at the Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center the same day as the Lyon sisters. He told authorities he left the mall with the girls and later saw his uncle molesting them. Lloyd Welch claims he never saw the girls again.

A grand jury has been investigating and authorities are searching for the bodies.

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