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crimesider

Cops: Person of interest ID'd in Md. girls' disappearance

Katherine Lyon, left, and Sheila Lyon

CBS affiliate WUSA

Updated 12:55 p.m. EST February 11, 2014

GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Police in Maryland have identified Lloyd Welch, a 57-year-old convicted child sex offender, as a person of interest in the 1975 disappearance of two sisters who never returned home from a Montgomery County shopping mall.

Authorities said Tuesday at a news conference that Welch is believed to have been at the shopping mall on the day the girls disappeared and has been in a Delaware prison since 1997, reports CBS DC. 

welch-jr-lloyd-lee-front-em.jpg
Lloyd Welch in an undated mugshot
Montgomery County Police via CBS D.C.
 Welch traveled extensively throughout the United States from the 1970s through the mid-90s, authorities said. He worked as a ride operator for a carnival company, which often set up at malls. He has a criminal history that includes arrests in several different states for sexual offenses against young girls, according to the station.

Police believe there may be victims who have not come forward.

Twelve-year-old Sheila Lyon and her 10-year-old sister Katherine went missing March 25, 1975 while walking home from Wheaton Plaza in Kensington.

Several witnesses, including the girls’ older brother, saw the two girls inside the shopping mall before their disappearance, according to the station. An extensive search and investigation ensued, but no one has been charged in the case.

“We have all been haunted by the disappearance of the Lyon sisters. Even though so much time has passed, we have not forgotten that those young girls deserve justice, and their family deserves closure," Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said Tuesday.

Authorities are seeking the public's help to learn more about Welch. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or they can submit a tip online at http://tips.fbi.gov.