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.


Olney, MD

#64 May 31, 2011
I would be the same age as Kate. I remember that when it happened. That same summer, there was a house that was being built behind my house on Byron and Higby Street. One day, my sister and her friend went over to the house that was under construction. A man grabbed my sister and her friend. My sister told me to go and get mom, and by the time my mom got to the house the man had let my sister and her friend go. And he disappeared. I have often wondered if that was the man who had taken the Lyon sisters and if they were buried in the construction of the house off of Dawson Ave. I work off of Plyers mIll and think about them everyday.
Mary from Manassas

United States

#65 Jul 16, 2011
We want to know if you could still figure out where that hole was? Please contact us. We grew up in Manassas and are looking into the case. Thank you.
Gail wrote:
I often think the police chased wrong leads. I lived in Takoma Park, in an area known as Carole Highlands. One day, when I was 12 or 13, my best friend and I were walking back from langley park when a man (late 20s early 30s) with black styled hair, handsome, in a black sports car pulled his car in to block our path, between two buildings, with an alley that led to a back area, bordered by woods that had a path that led to our neighborhood. Anyway, he flirted with us. He was smooth. Charming. Said he was just going to move the car into the back alley area and for us to follow to where we could talk some more. He seemed so nice, so handsome, and so flattering, and I was so young and stupid, my world relatively safe, we almost fell for it and started to follow! My friend caught my arm and said she had a bad feeling. And as if we finally came to our senses, we ran. Entered the woods from another area behind a laundry mat and ran all the way to the elementary school, then home. The timing is important here, About a week later we were riding our bikes through the same connecting woods in an area we had never been in before because it was dense and out of the way from the main path and came across a big deep recently dug hole. So deep that if you fell in you would not be able to get out. We got our parents who thought it was very strange, and they called other people to come look at it. Alerted the principal of the school I think, and the adults worked to fill the hole in. This hole took a lot of work and was not the kind of thing a kid could do. About a week, maybe two later, the Lyons sisters disappeared. From a shopping center less than a mile away, with a similar woods pattern between the stores and the homes. We were 2 girls, together. They were two girls together. I always felt we may have met the man who did this but it just didn't work out with us. If he had gotten us to that hole and covered it up, we would not have been found either. It was that deep. I always wondered if the man in the car and the hole might be connected and if all this could be connected to the Lyon sisters. A stragic path through the woods that young girls would walk in the middle of the day, handsome man very approachable and charming (you wanted this man's attention), an area so close to the public it seemd safe and yet out of view with an escape route and a disposal system set up before there was a victim. I've always had a gut feeling we may have met the person who did this. We did tell police, but they determined it wasn't connected. Not so sure.

United States

#66 Aug 17, 2011
James Mitchell DeBardeleben - dead in prison Jan 25, 2011 - most likely did this crime.

A well known kidnapper, rapist and murderer.

A police impersonator.

A counterfeiter "the mall passer" who used his counterfeiting to finance much darker and more sinister crimes.

He was known as the worst serial criminal in America.

He was known to have begun a career of extremely dangerous and lethal crime, including murder years before the Lyon sisters case.

He did crime in and around Wheaton and Wheaton plaza.

He was not in prison in 1974/1975.

He likely stole 3 Maryland State police uniforms from a Baltimore dry cleaning firm in February of 1975 (Impostor Sought by State Police
By Courtland MilloyWashington Post Staff Writer The Washington Post (1974-Current file); Sep 19, 1975; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1993) pg. C1).

Once in possession of the uniforms in Feb of 1975 he begins his Tape Recorder Man act - this was a way to taunt police in advance of his crime and to possibly communicate to Carol Miller his ex-wife who he reportedly raged against for having left him.

On March 25,1975 he lay in wait for the girls. A student of crime and well rehearsed in how to create minimal risk in the kidnapping he lay in wait at a specific location for the girls. It was a place maximally hidden from view of others and on the path to the Wheaton Plaza from the Kensington neighborhoods.

Two girls their age likely easily trusted a uniformed officer. He made up a story to get them to speak into a microphone. He asked them for "help". "My partner and I are going to track a counterfeiter at work. We need to communicate with each other. I will change into street clothes - this brown suit on this hanger - and come up to the plaza about 1:30. If you see me that means I need your help - just sit down with me and speak into the mic and I will do the rest. Please do not tell anyone because this would best for your safety - loose lips can sink ships. Thanks girls see you in a bit".

Once TRM arrives at Wheaton Plaza he was reported to move directly to where the Lyon girls speak with him. Once this brief scene in which the girls were seen interviewed by TRM the TRM left the mall.

The girls also left - and had another meeting with the "Officer" at the same spot. "Can you girls get in the car a moment I think Officer Stewart and I may actually have a nice reward for you two". They got in his car and that was the moment the worst crimes began.

Arlington, VA

#68 Aug 22, 2011
classmate also

Washington, DC

#69 Sep 7, 2011
Kate Lyons classmate wrote:
The disappearance of Kate and Sheila Lyon haunts me to this day. Kate was in my 4th grade class the year she disappeared. I will never forget Kate - she was such a sweet beautiful girl. That was a very tough time for all of us who went to school with them. I can't even imagine how her parent's go on. I used to walk that same path (sometimes with Kate) to go to Wheaton Plaza. It was safe back then - so we never thought much about it. That event has affected me, along with so many of us, in so many ways. I think about them alot and still hold out hope that somehow they are alive somewhere. I really didn't know Sheila, however, I do know that they also have 2 older brothers. One of them lives in my current neighborhood and he has 2 boys the same age as my boys are now. He works for a violent crimes unit with the county police....I guess that's not a surprise. My only hope is that the family can one day put closure to this horrible tragedy and the man who committed this crime pay for the rest of his life!!! They are (were) such a great family! I still hold out hope that one day they will find them. So sad....I actually still have the news clippings of when this happened. I remember watching the news every night - being scared to death - and looking at their pictures hoping they would show up at school one day. I still occasionally pull out the old newspapers read them and cry....So sad.
like you i was also katie's classmate when all this happend.. and also like you i never stoped thinking about her.. if im right i think our teacher was mrs. mcgee at that time.. i still have a class pic with katie in it.

Dallas, TX

#71 Sep 16, 2011
In 1975 I was not much older then the Lyon's sister, when they went missing, a couple of years. I remember this well because I was also at Wheaton Plaza that day when they went missing. I remember riding my bike there with some other kid in the neighborhood. I do not think we told our parents. Not good!!!:-( If I remember correctly, it was a Montgomery County school holiday. This case has always bothered me and still does to this day. Now that I have an adult daughter I have always worried about her the entire time she was growing up, I still do. I can never imaging the heart ach and sorrow the family has gown through. May god bless them. Back in 1975 one never heard of this happening and when it did it was a big deal. Now in 2011, there has been a couple of prominent cases resolved after many years it give a little bit of hope.

San Jose, CA

#73 Oct 27, 2011
classmate also wrote:
<quoted text> like you i was also katie's classmate when all this happend.. and also like you i never stoped thinking about her.. if im right i think our teacher was mrs. mcgee at that time.. i still have a class pic with katie in it.
I grew up on Plyers Mill Rd, and was also a classmate of Kates at Oakland Terrace at the time they went missing. I was in Miss Morrisette's class. I think of them often and still hope they just come home one day...

Marriottsville, MD

#74 Jan 14, 2012
James Mitchell DeBardeleben II kidnapped the Lyon girls. He stole Maryland State Police uniforms from a dry cleaning business in Baltimore in February of 1975 as was documented by the Washington Post.

Please see the blog below to read about this crime theory and this criminal more extensively.

Bel Air, MD

#75 Mar 1, 2012
FYI there is no proof that he kidnapped them or that he stole the uniforms. It is all speculation. Only the girls know what happened.(and the kidnapper if there was one)
Ice skater

Washington, DC

#76 Mar 3, 2012
I was 13yo at the time, and lived near Wheaton Plaza, often walking there and hanging out alone or with friends. The disappearance of the girls definitely raised safety awareness for me and my friends. I still live in the area, and often think about the case when I see young girls at the mall alone.

Bel Air, MD

#77 Jan 5, 2013
Has anyone ever noticed how similar the pic of the tape recorder man and James DeBardeleben are. Including the weird nose.

Glen Burnie, MD

#78 Jan 21, 2013
Lyon Sisters

Glen Burnie, MD

#79 Jan 21, 2013

This is the subject I received a tip on back in 1998 and did a ground search with a Professor from the Naval Academy of the area to verify the tipsters story.

The tipster told me Ray had buried the twins in a quarry in Suitland somewhere.
We were surprised to find out that not only did the subject indeed live in Suitland Maryland but police had searched his back yard and only to find bones in the backyard to a bird.

However they were not aware of and failed to notice a large parcel of land only yards from Rays back yard was a (quarry).

The closed down quarry at that time was being developed to make way for a new school as i was told and I noticed construction, not removing of any dirt, but they were back filling the area with more dirt covering up the site.

The Tipster did tell us that was indeed the right place.

I spoke with a detective back then from Montgomery County and he was not very helpful and also stated to me that he never heard of Raymond R. Mileski.

From A News Story:
* Investigators considered Raymond Rudolph Mileski, Sr. another potential person of interest in the girls' disappearances. Mileski resided in the 5810 block of Suitland Road in Suitland, Maryland in 1975. He murdered his wife and teenage son inside their home after a disagreement in November 1977. Mileski's younger son was wounded in the incident. He was convicted of the homicides in 1978 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Authorities searched the yard of his former residence in April 1982 for material connected to the Lyons' cases, but no evidence was discovered, an no charges were ever filed.

Thank You
Money on mommy

Charlotte, NC

#81 Feb 3, 2013
The mother was never questioned as a suspect.

Chesapeake, OH

#82 Feb 21, 2013
Nancy wrote:
Has anyone ever noticed how similar the pic of the tape recorder man and James DeBardeleben are. Including the weird nose.
check out the a&e special on Debardeleben - it's on YouTube - search his name and watch the 10 part biography of Americas greatest serial criminal - in history!
He was married July 1970 to Carol Miller less than 3 miles from Wheaton Plaza.
He fooled the secret service for more than 3 years - was known to do crimes at crowded holiday malls, highly organized - a sexual sadist!
Cebie Dorsey

Orlando, FL

#83 Mar 1, 2013
I pray for these girls & their family regularly, as well as a few others. I was born & raised in the metro DC area & I remember this case & others that have occurred there. In March 1975, I was a young mother of an infant son & my daughter was just weeks away from her 5th birthdToday, as a grandmother, these crimes weigh heavy on my heart.

I can't begin to imagine the horror os a missing loved one. let alone a child!

I also pray for JR Burdinski who disappeared from PG Co, & was reportedly sighted in Winchester, VA (where I lived at that time). JR allegedly knew a pedophile who had lived in his neighborhood in MD, and was arrested in Winchester shortly after the boy's disappearance.

Please pray for these children & their families.....there are so many missing children....we can't pray too much for their return or at least to learn what happened to them. Their families deserve answers.
Cebie Dorsey

Orlando, FL

#84 Mar 1, 2013
please disregard the's getting late & I'm tired.

Hagerstown, MD

#85 Mar 10, 2013
Sheila and Kate are sisters but not twins.

Wilmington, DE

#86 Mar 21, 2013
I hope that this mystery will be solved and that SOMEONE will come forward if they have any info and give that family the peace that they deserve! THEN A CHILD now a mother of 3 with 1 daughter , i often think of this case and HOPE THAT TECHNOLOGY and the Cold Case bulldogs out there will one day be able to at least identify who took them and find them so that the family can leave this earth with a proper memorial for their 2 only daughters! I know it would be a dying wish for me!! PLEASE COLD CASE CREWS ... KEEP LOOKING AND CHECKING WITH ALL THE SCIENCE AVAILABLE and let the family and rest of us know whst happened to those inoccent baby girls!!
We all can still hope and wish that someone kept them alive and allowed them to live.. but its obviously not realistic to believe in this world the way we know it!

King George, VA

#87 Mar 24, 2013
I remember that one so sad

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