- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2015

Authorities investigating the 1975 disappearance of a pair of Montgomery County sisters said Thursday the girls were abducted with the intent of being sexually abused by their captors and killed to cover up the crimes.

Officials previously announced Wednesday that one man, Lloyd Lee Michael Welch Jr., was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in conjunction with the disappearance of the two girls — 12-year-old Sheila and 10-year-old Katherine Lyon. But while officials were tight-lipped Wednesday about what they have been able to reconstruct of the timeline of events, they spoke more frankly Thursday about some aspects of the case.

Lloyd Welch’s indictments charge him with the culpability of the murder of the Lyon sisters because they were killed in order for their captors to escape detection,” said Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown at a second press conference held in Bedford County, Virginia, where the charges were filed. “The motive for the abduction of the Lyon sisters was to sexually exploit, abuse and defile them.”

The sisters were last seen at Westfield Wheaton mall, formerly known as Wheaton Plaza, about a half-mile from their home before they disappeared on March 25, 1975. Their remains have never been located.

Officials reiterated that the investigation doesn’t end with the indictment of Lloyd Welch, a convicted sex offender currently serving time in a Delaware jail. They are continuing to investigate Lloyd Welch’s uncle Richard Welch, aunt Patricia Welch, and cousin Henry Parker.

Lloyd Welch has provided some details about the crimes, saying that the girls left the mall with him and his uncle Richard Welch and that he later saw his uncle sexually assaulting one of the girls at his home. Montgomery County Police Capt. Darren Franke said they are not relying solely on Lloyd Welch’s accounts as evidence.

SEE ALSO: New search for missing Lyon sisters underway on Taylors Mountain

Mr. Parker also told detectives in December that in 1975 he met Lloyd Welch at a property on Taylor’s Mountain in Thaxton, Virginia, that was owned by relatives of Welch. He said he helped remove two heavy duffel bags that “smelled like death” from Lloyd Welch’s vehicle and throw them in a fire burning on the property.

Taylor’s Mountain has been the site of several digs for forensic evidence during the investigation, which picked up again in 2013 after Montgomery County police detectives reexamined the case file.

During the revived investigation, Capt. Franke said people have thrown them “roadblocks” and tried to lead detectives in the wrong direction. Authorities said they plan to prosecute anyone who has tried to obstruct the investigation as well as those found to have been involved in the abduction and killings.

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