Police search property in SW Virginia in 40-year-old Md. Lyon sisters disappearance case

Katherine Lyon, left, and her sister Sheila Lyon, right, were last seen leaving to walk to Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center in Montgomery County in March of 1975. (File photos)

THAXTON, Va. (ABC/WJLA) - After nearly 40 years investigators from Maryland are in Bedford County in southwest Virginia looking for clues in the disappearance of two little girls, authorities confirmed to ABC 7 News.

Police have been searching a wooded area in the 3400 block of Taylor Mountain Road in Thaxton for days, according to neighbors. On Tuesday, teams searched the woods with dogs, while a state search and rescue trailer was parked in a nearby staging area.

"Since last week, Montgomery County detectives have been in the area of Bedford County, working with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police," the Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement issued Tuesday night.

Dollie Estep, a Thaxton resident, said investigators had visited her home months ago and told her two of her uncles had been implicated in the disappearance of two sisters in Maryland in 1975. Katherine Lyon, 10, and Sheila Lyon, 12, were last seen eating pizza at a mall in Wheaton.

In February, Lloyd Welch, a sex offender currently serving time in a Delaware prison, was named a person of interest in the sisters' disappearance by the FBI. Estep said investigators told her Welch, a cousin, placed her two uncles at the scene; one of the uncles owned an acre of land in the area where police have been searching in recent days.

“I never even knew of the Lyon sisters,” said Estep. “It really is scaring me just to think maybe they could be up here or just something bad could happen in my family, my family be involved in something like that period. Yeah, that scares me."

Officers at the search scene said they expected their search would continue for several more days.

"Detectives are looking for evidence and gathering information that may indicate that Welch had a connection to the girls’ disappearance," the MCPD statement said.

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