Cold Case: Lyon Sisters Disappearance

Full story: WUSA Washington, DC

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

Rockville, MD

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#1
Feb 26, 2008
 
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.
Marlene Strobel

Rosedale, MD

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#2
Mar 7, 2008
 
I was 20 years old at the time of this kidnapping. I am now 53. I still look it up every year just to see if any progress has been made. To bad we did not have cell phones then where someone could have called real fast when they seen that guy with the bound girls in the back. Also I was wondering maybe the guy has been deceased for some years or and none of his family knows who these girls really are. My e-mail is StrobelCE@msn.com
Marlene Strobel

Rosedale, MD

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#3
Mar 7, 2008
 
I live in what was once a small community called Perry Hall which has grown since I got here in 1966. I was 11 1/2 years old when I got to Perry Hall the same age as one of the Lyon sisters. I was just a child. I can not think who would kidnap and do that to a child one of Gods children. I was just wondering did they ever get a pysic on the case. That might help.
Jadeddude

Arlington, VA

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#4
Mar 8, 2008
 
They think they know who did it he was a convicted child killer in North Carolina.He was executed back in the 90s but before justice was served, investigators interviewed him and had compelling evidence! He lived in the area at the time of the abduction and drove the same make and model that was reported the sisters were last seen in.There was other evidence also but I can't remember the show was on yrs. ago. he would not admit or deny and went to his death that way! I remember both girls as I lived in Mclean Va. and their posters were every where then.The two blond sisters victims of evil!I was 10 or 11 and it scared me for the first time I relized there were monsters in the world! May they always rest in peace.May the wrath of God almighty punish mercilessly any and all amimals of that nature! If we don't get to them first!
Gail

Chantilly, VA

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#5
Jun 4, 2008
 

Judged:

1

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.
Kim

United States

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#6
Jun 22, 2008
 
Gail, your story gave me chills. My sister and I lived in Wheaton at the time and were the same age as the Lyon sisters (we did not know them). We also routinely walked to and from Wheaton Plaza; in fact, we were there the day before the Lyon girls disappeared. This case has always haunted me. I do feel your experience my be connected to their disappearance. Strange that the police did not pursue it further.
Cat

Fort Huachuca, AZ

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#7
Jul 3, 2008
 

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Fred H. Coffey is the man highly suspected who is incarcerated in NC. He wasn't killed in the 1990s; he was up for parole in 2007, and fortunately was denied. I've read a lot of details about him in other discussions and he seems like definitely the likliest candidate. His MO, background, everything sound like he definitely could have been the "tape recorder man" eye witnesses recall interviwing the sisters on the day they died. Gail, as chilling as your story is, I don't think it's linked to the Lyon sisters, but take a look at this photo and see (I know he's aged a lot) if he looks like the black haired smooth talker. He was 30 in 1975, but when the Lyon sisters disappeared the witnesses describe a man with "black/gray hair". There's the link to Coffey http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender...
Skunk Cabbage

Cockeysville, MD

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#8
Jul 3, 2008
 
I remember the case also. It seemed like the first case I can remember. I know the sisters were from Maryland but every time I would drive past Lyon Village along rt.29 I thought about those sisters. If this Coffey guy is a suspect, I am sure the police took his DNA. Of course, that's not much good if there's no evidence to match it in the evidence. A shame, this is another case like many others which go unsolved. Always remember, it's not just "cold case" detectives who look into old cases. The old fashioned cop will still pull out a folder and go over a case to see if something clicks.
Gail

Chantilly, VA

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#9
Aug 11, 2008
 
This is actually the first time I've viewed this blog since I posted back in June. And I did look at the photo on your link Cat. Who knows if it was him. The age would have been right. Make the man younger with stylized hair, dark, a little longer 70s cut, and dark glasses, who knows, maybe. I do know the guy would not have had trouble getting young girls to talk to him. So he wasn't creepy or disheveled or anything like that. Its impossible to say for sure at this time, unfortunately. I always get a quiet feeling inside when I hear about young girls missing, or abducted. And when we heard about the Lyons sisters at the time, Terry and I felt it could have been us. 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). We had attention directed our way that would have caused us to be grounded for life if our parents had known about it, which is why we didn't tell them about it. This incident seemed to be a turning point. These guys were not just fun and games, they were very very dangerous.
Adam

United States

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#10
Aug 28, 2008
 
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.
Have you seen the sketches of the "Tape recorder man" documented to have been seen speaking or recording the Lyon sisters at the Wheaton plaza shortly before they went missing? They were published in the Washington Star newspaper and maybe the gazette and the Washington post.
The sketch may be familiar to the man who was stalking you and your friend.
The ditch seems unlike the modality that Fred Coffey was associated with, but who knows?
Ellen

Springfield, VA

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#11
Sep 7, 2008
 
Like many of you, I grew up in the Wheaton area and my sister and I were about the same age as the Lyon sisters. We frequently walked to Wheaton Plaza to "hang out". We never got over what happened to those girls. This is the first time I ever googled their case because it struck me that I had never heard that the case had been solved. I guess it will never be solved. This is such a tragic case and that poor family never got any closure. So, so sad.
ccsa

UK

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#12
Sep 22, 2008
 
I decided to google the case to find out if the family ever got any closure. I was 9 at the time and only recent moved to Silver Spring. I had the same care free approach to going places as did the Lyons girls. I guess it was my first true experience that there are really bad people in this world. I went to school with their brother and it was just something you never discussed; rightfully so. Now, 30+ years later, it seems like the perfect crime of some sick individual, but I can only hope that the media will pick this up as a cold case 30 years later to see what new leads come out of bringing it back to the surface. A new set of eyes, a detective that himself or herself may have been a child at the time can look at this from a different perspective and try to give this family the closure they need. I can't even begin to put myself in their shoes, but the pit in my stomach even today can only wish that justice whether on this earth or somewhere else will prevail.
Dewhickey

Gaithersburg, MD

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#13
Sep 22, 2008
 
I have always been fascinated by this case; I think it was featured on WRC 4's "Cold Case" series a while ago. It just amazes me that no trace of the twins has ever surfaced in all this time. I cannot imagine what such a crime and the lack of any resolution does to a family.
Militant One

Washington, DC

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#14
Oct 4, 2008
 
I see that I am not alone in wondering whatever happened to the Lyon sisters. I was 13 at the time and could not believe that two little girls could disappear from a mall without a trace. Thirty-three years later and I still am holding out hope that their disappearance will some day be solved.
Chris

Raleigh, NC

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#15
Nov 21, 2008
 
I conducted an internet search for the Lyons sisters several weeks ago but nothing came up. So I tried again tonight and had a few hits including this one. I have a really strange story to tell not knowing if it was ever related to the case. I was 12 years old living in the Aspen Hill area. During that time I was in braces and my orthodontist was in the tall white medical building right next to Wheaton Plaza across the street from the then Howard Johnson Hotel and restaurant. It was only a few days since the sisters vanished. My mother had dropped me off at the building to then find a parking spot. I got on the elevator to go up to the orthodontist office. Only myself and another man were on the elevator. He says to me "did you hear they spotted the Lyons sisters in a car not to far from here". I said oh really. I was so scared. Still to this day I don't know why out of the blue he said that to me a 12 year old on an elevator. The elevator had reached my floor and I got off. I told my mother what had happened but she never seem to have made big deal about the incident. 34 years later I remember like it was yesterday and wonder who that person was with me on the elevator. The sad thing is I never remember what he looked liked. The sisters disappearance has always been with me. I don't know why, maybe due to the closeness in age, the incident in the elevator or because the case has never been solved. I ma glad I found this site to help me tell my story after all these years. Thanks.
BJV

United States

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#16
Dec 7, 2008
 
Cat wrote:
Fred H. Coffey is the man highly suspected who is incarcerated in NC. He wasn't killed in the 1990s; he was up for parole in 2007, and fortunately was denied. I've read a lot of details about him in other discussions and he seems like definitely the likliest candidate. His MO, background, everything sound like he definitely could have been the "tape recorder man" eye witnesses recall interviwing the sisters on the day they died. Gail, as chilling as your story is, I don't think it's linked to the Lyon sisters, but take a look at this photo and see (I know he's aged a lot) if he looks like the black haired smooth talker. He was 30 in 1975, but when the Lyon sisters disappeared the witnesses describe a man with "black/gray hair". There's the link to Coffey http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender...
Thanks for the photo link. I lived in Fairfax in the early 70's and had a similar problem at the age 11-12. BY the grace of god I was able to get away. I never told my parents out of fear and like
other military brats I moved on. It wasn't til I had my own kids did this all come back to haunt me. I would love to see a photo of this guy from the early 70's. IN my own mind this guy does look similar.
Cheryl Linn

Ellicott City, MD

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#17
Dec 17, 2008
 
Gail, I too grew up in Carole Highlands and I remember the same thing happen to me and my friend probably in the same area. We were also walking back from langley park behind the elementary school in the ball field and there was a man their who exposed himself. It was reported to the police but nothing was ever done about it. I was about 10 or 11. However this was at least 10 years before the lyon sister.
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.
Moniinthemiddle

Norfolk, VA

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#18
Dec 17, 2008
 
Wow! I like most of you have never forgotten the Lyons sisters. I was about 10 when this happened and I remember that it was the first time I realized that bad things could happen to little girls my age. I'm not sure if it's a certain time of the year or just something that crosses my mind periodically but I do still think of and send up a prayer for them both. I guess the sad reality is that as I've grown into an adult with children of my own, time has passed for them and their families as well. But I still picture the two little blond girls pictured on my television set.
Rich Callahan

Lehigh Acres, FL

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#19
Dec 17, 2008
 
I met John, Mary and their sons many years ago when John joined the Knights of Columbus in Silver Spring. Though it was never spoken of, everyone had the thought of their daughters on their minds. Their courage as a family was something else! It is always so sad when such bad things happen to such good people. Though I had not thought about it in years, the Adam Walsh revelation really brought it back to my mind. An as a parent, I have some appreciation for their pain.
Cincinnati Steve

Erlanger, KY

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#20
Dec 18, 2008
 
I was 6 when this happened and it has stayed with me and my family since. I lived in Silver Spring at the time and we werent even allowed to go to Wheaton Plaza for years afterwards.
I went to Einstein HS in the 80's right down the road from the Lyon's neighborhood and a buddy of mine was a family friend of theirs.
Many times we skipped school and went to Wheaton Plaza and then to his house. The first time we took the short cut to his home he told me it was the same path the girls took a decade earlier - I was 15 at the time and it still gave me the shivers.
There was a child molestation case in the early 90's that was a big news story in the DC area. A small boy was abused in Virginia (I think) and the accused molester was a badling, older white male. I cant remember if the boy was killed or not - I dont think he was.
My high school buddy recognized the accused molester as a former resident of his neighborhood in Kensington. He had lived just a few blocks from his house and the Lyon family.
He called the FBI to tell them of the connection and they interviewed him on the phone. I dont think anything ever came out of it.
I with I could remember dates better - my memory is not what it used to be.
I always wondered what happened and if the info was investigated, etc...

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