Man pleads guilty to murders of Maryland sisters kidnapped in 1975

Elias Hubbard
September 13, 2017

McCarthy was present in Bedford, Virginia, Tuesday, as Welch pleaded guilty to two counts of felony first degree murder and was sentenced to 48 years in prison as part of a global plea agreement.

Bedford County Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance, left, speaks during a plea and sentencing hearing of Lloyd Lee Welch Jr.

Welch was charged in the girls' killings in 2015 after members of his extended family said they saw him carrying two large duffel bags on property the family owned on Taylor's Mountain in Bedford County, Virginia. Welch, who is already serving a long prison term in DE for sexually molesting a 10-year-old girl, also received a 12-year sentence in two unrelated sexual assault cases in Prince William County in Virginia.

The bodies have never been found. Police have said they think the sisters' remains may have been burned and then disposed of in central Virginia, where Welch has relatives.

The Lyon sisters' disappearance shattered the sense of security in Kensington, Maryland, rattling parents to the point where they no longer let their children play outside or walk to Wheaton Plaza. "People always wanted to know who did this, who was this person, what happened?" said Teresa Brookland, a former schoolmate who remembers Katherine as sweet and friendly.

In the Lyon family's first in-person statement in decades, the girl's father, John Lyon, warmly thanked police, prosecutors, and the public for their roles in keeping the case alive.

Montgomery County, Maryland, detectives reopened the almost four-decade-old cold case in 2013.

Welch, a former carnival worker and drifter, has been in a DE prison since 1997 on an unrelated child sex charge.

"That fear lingered for years and years, and it was just the kind of thing that nobody will ever forget", said retired Sgt. Harry Geehreng, who searched for the girls at the shopping center and in nearby woods in the days after they vanished. Nance said Welch's account of who was involved in the girls' abduction, sexual assault and killing changed repeatedly during interviews with police over the last several years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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