Cold Case: Lyon Sisters Disappearance

Cold Case: Lyon Sisters Disappearance

There are 94 comments on the WUSA Washington, DC story from Feb 17, 2008, titled Cold Case: Lyon Sisters Disappearance. In it, WUSA Washington, DC reports that:

Age : 10 years old Height and Weight : 4'8; 85 pounds Distinguishing Characteristics : Blonde hair; blue eyes.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WUSA Washington, DC.


Hollywood, MD

#21 Dec 19, 2008
I was 9 when this happened and lived in Oxon Hill. I remember feeling so bad that these two sisters were missing. I remember looking for them in the woods between my apartment and my school but of couse never found or seened anything! I looked for awhile probably months-I hop one day this cold case will be solved.....

United States

#22 Jan 2, 2009
As Gail so eloquently put in in an earlier post: "There was a lot of misdirected and strange sexual energy going around the entire area at that time, and men were ogling girls our age a lot (did I mention we were 12)." I was trying to think of a way to express that feeling, and she put it perfectly.

I grew up in Kensington, not far from where the Lyon family lived. I was about 6 years old at the time it happened, but even at that young age I understood what had happened. I too, had been to the Orange Bowl many times and frequented Wheaton Plaza, albeit with my parents. It was just so eerie and really very quickly opened my eyes to the fact that the world was not always a safe place.

It was probably 1977 or 1978, but a few weird things happened to me as well. I was walking with a friend along Summit Avenue in Kensington near my house and we heard a knocking sound, We looked up at the house we were walking by and there was a man in the upstairs window who exposed himself to us. We both freaked out and ran all the way home.

The more unsettling of the two incidents happened that winter. I was at home and the phone ran. I answered and a man on the line began asking me lots of questions. What I looked like, where I went to school and being as naive as I was at the time, I answered him. My mother overheard me talking and asked me who I was talking to. I shrugged and continued to talk to him. He asked me if I had a winter coat and then he asked my what it looked like. When my mother heard me say that I did and that it was pink and white, she came over and hung up the phone. I was then lectured about the dangers of talking to strangers and needless to say I didn't wear my pink and white coat anymore. Looking back, it just gives me chills to think about the fact that theirs or another child abductor might have been in our midst.

I later went on to Newport Middle and Einstein High and was actually very friendly with the Lyon Sisters' younger brother. Like many of you have already stated, his sister's disappearance was never spoken of, but their disappearance has always, and to this day, something that has been in the back of my mind. I am especially uneasy and sad when I drive down Plyers Mill road past the house where they lived. I too, wish this family some kind of closure, they have been in so much pain for so long.

Washington, DC

#23 Jan 29, 2009
I too remember this case very well. I was 17 at the time. The media saturation was intense and I recall one radio DJ telling listeners that the car the sisters had been seen in was observed by a caller and the DJ was giving directions over the air for people listening to stop the car.

Too many sick people in the world. My cousin was raped and tortured and murdered at the age of 10 in Wellesley Township, PA near Erie. His assailant was captured, tried and condemned to death. God willing the man in prison in NC (Coffey) is the perpertrator of the crime against the Lyons sister. If he is I hope that he will finally come forward and give the Lyons family some closure.

Frederick, MD

#24 Apr 8, 2009
I too remember when this happened. Things changed. Gail, did you report this to the Montgomery County police? I can't believe an enormous hole in a wooded area, close to the last place these girls were seen wouldn't be significant.
And Kim, how scary that you were at the mall with your sister just a day before these girls disappeared. They had a sketch in the news of a person who was interviewing girls at the mall. They think he may have been connected to the girls disappearance. He was supposedly in the mall the day before also. Did you see a man with a tape recorder interviewing girls at the mall.
It is so terribly sad that this case has gone unsolved all these years. I hope this case gets solved while people still remember the impact it had.


#25 Apr 10, 2009
Here is a link to a website called Websleuths. It has a feature section dedicated to the unsolved case of Sheila and Katherine Lyon who went missing from Wheaton Plaza on 25 March 1975.

The site includes many origional news reports from the time as well as numerous discussion topics concerning the case. It is from Websleuths where recent reporters on this subject have obtained much of their material.

Centreville, VA

#26 Apr 12, 2009
For most of my life I have lived about a mile from Wheaton Plaza where they were abducted and though I was only five at the time, I remember all the outrage this abduction caused at the time and it scares me to remember walking to school alone a year later in Wheaton, aged six! Indeed residents of all ages were very frightened and people still talk about the Lyons sisters every now and then, if only as cautionary tales to remind other children to beware. I even had teachers in middle school teaching about it which really hit home since we were all mall rats at Wheaton Plaza at the time, especially the arcade that used to be there back then... So in short, while this is a horrible story full of pain and fear, some good has come of it in the form of education for probably thousands of children (if not more) and very possibly other kids lived because of this eye-opening ordeal.

United States

#27 Apr 17, 2009
It's ironic that I just happened on this web page because I too remember when the Lyon Sisters went missing. I must have been about 13 at the time and couldn't believe that something like that could happen in broad daylight at Wheaton Plaza. I now live in the Carole Highlands neighborhood that you grew up in. I raised my kids here without incident. I think that the police probably have the name of the person who abducted them, but just never were able to get the evidence needed to arrest and convict. I still think about those poor little girls 34 years after they disappeared.

United States

#28 Apr 20, 2009
Yes Cincinatti Steve, around 93 there was a missing boy from Bladensburg, MD and and older man was suspect. I don't know if they ever found the boy but the older man used to go camping frequently at Greenbelt PArk at the time. I don't know if they ever searched the park for his remains.


#29 May 2, 2009
I looked up the site because I am always thinking about the Lyon sisters. Why I don't know. I guess because I was also 10 at the time they went missing. I would say a number of us were stund by the news because back then we were aloud to go anywhere and everywhere without our parents.Things like that didn't happen. Things from our past can stick with us and since this was a shock to the community it will not go away. I like so many others would like to see this case reopened and find who this mad person was. My prayer still go out to the two little girls so heavy in our hearts, family.

Toronto, Canada

#30 May 4, 2009
I was about 12 when the Lyon sisters disappeared. One afternoon during gym class ( we were playing softball ) a man walked up from Wisconsin Ave ( I went to Sidwell, and at that time the girls' field was right on Wisconsin), came up to us as we were waiting in line to go to bat. This man squatted down to be less threatening I suppose, pulled out a lime green tape recorder and started asking us questions, all the while recording our voices. Then he started to single me out. Our teacher (slow on the uptake as I remember) did not intervene at all. After the man left, or rather wandered further on to the campus, a girlfriend said that he resembled the drawing of the suspect in the Lyons' disappearance. Our names were placed on the front pockets of our gym blouses so we wouldn't get them mixed up but I was terrified for weeks afterward that the man would find my name in the directory and come after me. As I remember, the school finally called the police to report it, and they held an assembly to warn us about speaking to strangers. To this day it baffles me why our gym teacher let this man onto the field and allowed him to talk with us. Creepy. I have thought of the Lyon girls often over the years and it is always with dread and sadness.

Toronto, Canada

#31 May 7, 2009
Other details of this man which are consistent with earlier comments on this site (Gail's specifically): the guy was smooth and confident, a good dresser, was engaging in a way that encouraged responses from us and he had no problem walking up to a group of girls on private school property, with the coach not too far away. Crazy when I think about it -how smooth he was.

Laurel, MD

#32 May 8, 2009
I remember when this happened back in 75. I was the same age as the younger girl and use to go to Wheaton Plaza all the time and remember it was not enclosed, but opened to air. Sadly, I think those poor girls where probably raped and murdered and disposed of shortly after their abduction. I wish law enforcement would give more rights to victims instead of criminals, like they do now.

Alexandria, VA

#33 Jun 2, 2009

Thanks for catching up. I know it's probably hard to tell from the mugshot. Coffey's aged a lot. But I REALLY think, upon further contemplation, that your incident, the Lyon sisters and Kathy Lynn Beatty are all connected, as was possibly the incident Molly had at Sidwell with the tape recorder. The MO may not have been "exactly the same" in each incident but as we learned from Ted Bundy, he didn't do everything exactly the same every time either. I think you and your friend were a practice run. I honestly do. He honed his skill with the tape recorder ruse; you and your friend taught him the direct approach was too off-putting. I also believe the hole may absolutely have been deliberate, part of a fantasy maybe or as a practical matter for disposal. I think Kathy Beatty may have been a "blitz style" attack--maybe he ran out of time. In any case, the more I think about the time table and how "smooth" this guy was, the more I think you are very lucky to be alive. I re-visited your post after months and months, and I don't know. Just something in my gut kind of went "eesh". And all posters--I agree that it was really creepy during that time to be an adolescent girl. It's like something happened and the floodgates of propriety opened for perverts. My sister had a problem with an obsessed neighbor in the early 90s when she was 17; he tried to break into the house we think and would often come to her window before that to jerk off. He moved, and we didn't know back then that those "harmless" peeping Tom type things often escalate into full on sex crimes. Totally creepy.

United States

#34 Aug 15, 2009
Did anyone ever report seeing a white Maverick or a white Datsun pickup in the area (with Virginia tags)?


#35 Aug 31, 2009
Kim wrote:
I was 12 when this happened and it has always haunted me. I have never forgotten about those 2 girls and hope one day the mystery can be solved. Breaks my heart that there is sick people out there who have no feeling or care for human beings. I hope they find this man and make him pay.
Got me wondering now about this here Dugard case. She survived 19 years of this guy, though she had children and so forth. Now, I h ave been in some ways onto the Lyon case over these many years, and I still believe that they are living. I look at the Dugard case, I even look at the cases of the women outwest at the compound, and those are the areas that I see Kathy and Sheila Lyon in. They are about 40 plus now, and I believe also they could not return here. Yet, we need to further get this case going again, and get the word out there to get those sisters back.
Carol Naples FL

Cape Coral, FL

#37 Sep 4, 2009
I'm from MD and lived in Gaithersburg when this happened. My girls were 9 and 11. I will never forget it. Today my sister and I shopping here in sunny FL and started remembering that horrible time. It's very often I think of those girls and their familiy. God Bless Them

Bethesda, MD

#38 Sep 8, 2009
Its so sad that the Lyon's family has never had closure for the disappearance of their children. I really wonder what is going on with this case. I hope someday these beautiful girls will be found and the person who took them is convicted. I have never forgot when this happen. I hope law officials will find closure of this case.
john price

Mclean, VA

#39 Sep 24, 2009
I was in high school at the time of this and it is so depressing these children never got the chance to grow up and live their lives. It maddens me to think of this pedophile who I hope died a painful death in North Carolina prison.(you know it was him!)... I often wonder of the person that was reported to have seen them in a vehicle bound and gagged and what they have had to live through their entire lives. Boy, if it was me and I saw something like that there is no way they would get out of my sight, despite he was reported to run a red light. Still, how did this person just "see" them in the car bound?

Hagerstown, MD

#40 Nov 4, 2009
I have for many years checked on the status of these girls. I too lived in Wheaton on Drumm Ave. We always walked to the mall via through the woods. Very creepy woods at that. This case will forever haunt me, as we were the same age and I believe the same daisy troup.
Mark P

Washington, DC

#41 Dec 9, 2009
I was a classmate of Kate at Oakland Terrace, and lived just 2 blocks up the street. I remember the weekend they disappeared and most of us kids in the neighborhood were either under lock-down and/or supervised recess for a long time after. I frequently get a chance to go by the old neighborhood and always pray for peace and closure for their family as I drive past their house.

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