March 25, 1975.
I wouldn’t know it at the time. I wasn’t actually born until 1984, but March 25, 1975 would greatly affect who I was. Who I would become. In fact, some may argue that it has affected every element of my life.
I have heard the story again and again. Never even realizing the emotional toll it must have taken on my mother to tell me each time.
It wasn’t until I had my own children that I finally understood what this story meant.
You see on March 25, 1975, my mother was just 12 years old. She was the youngest in her family and lived with her parents and her older sister in Montgomery County, Maryland.
I would hear many stories about the house on Jennings Road. Most of them happy memories from a time much simpler.
But this one wouldn’t be like the rest.
On March 25, 1975 my mom asked her mom if she could go to the Wheaton Plaza with her best friend and her little sister.
While I wasn’t there and I’m not confident enough to quote, I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Who’s going with you?
Just me, Sheila, and Katherine.
No. Come on, Mom. We’ll be fine. It’s not a big deal. You’re just overreacting. We just want to go look at the Easter decorations.
I don’t think so, Cathy. I have a funny feeling about it. I think you should stay home.
I can’t believe you. You never let me do anything!!
My mom told me she was so mad at grandma. At the time she even claimed to hate her. Having my own experience as a 12 year old girl once, I don’t think she’s exaggerating.
It turned out my grandma was smart to keep my mom home. Her best friend, Sheila Lyon, and her little sister, Katherine Lyon, were abducted that day and have never been found since.
Throughout my life, I remember little breakthroughs on the search for these little girls. At one time, my mom received a call from someone telling her that they believed it was the Spanish teacher who had taken them, but later he was never charged with anything.
Growing up I always thought my mom was a little crazy. I had to check in constantly. There was no sneaking in after curfew, she heard everything. Before leaving the house I would have to go through the list of who, what, when, why, and how. Sometimes two or three times.
At my requests, she would often say no. No I couldn’t go there. No I wasn’t allowed. I accused her of wanting to control my life. She was out to destroy me. She wanted me to be unpopular. She was just out to get me.
But no, it was actually none of those things.
You see, my mom is a strong woman. For those of you who know her you are probably nodding your head in agreement right now, saying something like ‘She sure is.’ But this changed her.
It would change anyone.
She never led on that it hurt her. Not while she was talking to me about it. I knew she was sad, but at the time I couldn’t understand why she would let something that happened so many years ago affect now.
But there has been no closure. No case solved. Not even many clues. This was her best friend. And I don’t know about you, but 12 is like one of the best years for best friends.
For 40 years she and everyone else involved has had no answers.
Lloyd Lee Welch has been charged with two felony counts of murder. He has also been charged with abduction with the intent to defile.
40 years ago Welch was an 18 year old carnival worker and drifter. Currently he is serving time in Delaware as a child sex offender.
It was released last night that some of his relatives had confessed that he was seen carrying bloody clothes and two duffel bags that smelled of decomposition that night. One relative confessed to helping him burn the duffel bags in a fire.
His aunt will face trial in October for perjury. It seems she had lied about her family’s involvement in the disappearence of these two girls.
My question, who else is involved? My money is on the Uncle. Someone, knows where those little girls are. Someone knows and it’s time to start talking. I pray God will get you to talk.
I don’t know what my life would have looked like if I hadn’t been raised knowing or not knowing, really, about what happened to these girls. I owe a lot to Sheila and Katherine. It has been through your story that I have understood what love looks like. Something I hope my own children will recognize one day.
In your short lives you have touched so many.
I know justice has already been served. I know that the enemy wants those involved to say mean, awful, terrible things about the Welch family. I know he wants us to be consumed with hate and anger, but I want to encourage anyone who is reading this to not fall for his tricks.
We might not know where the physical bodies of Shelia and Katherine Lyon are, but I’m confident that God protected them and they are with Him right now waiting patiently to be reunited with those who loved them and continue to love them so much.
There is another press conference today at noon EST in Bedford, VA.
I ask that you join me in praying for their parents, their family and my mom, Sheila’s last best friend. Pray for answers. Pray for justice. Pray for peace that only God can provide.
And finally, pray for closure. I think 40 years is long enough, don’t you?