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joellegirl
04-09-2004, 01:49 AM
Anyone else familiar with this case? Sheila and Katherine Lyon, sisters, aged 11 and 13, walked to a shopping mall near their Wheaton, MD home in March 1975 and have never been seen again. I believe they were actually last seen leaving the mall, and then again a possible sighting a week or so later. Someone saw two girls in the backseat of a car bound and gagged, fitting their description. There have been no new leads since. I can't imagine the torture their family has gone though, losing two children and not knowing if they are alive or dead. Sorry I don't have a link but if you do a Google search you will find their story.

blueclouds
04-09-2004, 03:39 AM
Here's some links:

http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/mpccn/slyon.html

http://www.nealjconway.com/essays/whyweliketobe/lyonsisters.html
http://doenetwork.bravepages.com/65dfmd.html

joellegirl
04-13-2004, 02:25 AM
Blueclouds, thanks for the links. If you have any more, please share. Like the one link stated, I believe the man at the shopping plaza with the tape recorder is the one who abducted them. I wonder if their family will ever put up a website about their daughters' disappearance, though I understand it may be too painful for them. Somebody somehwere must know something....but then again maybe not. It is just heartbreaking their loved ones will go to their graves probably not knowing what happened.

Trino
04-13-2004, 10:04 PM
In today's world with cell phones, etc. the person who saw the bound and gagged girls could have called police at the touch of a few buttons. Thank goodness for today's technology. Sincere prayers to the family of these two girls.

revlis
09-15-2004, 03:50 PM
I grew up in Maryland not far from where the sisters disappeared and I can remember their story like it was yesterday.....Every March i read the Washington Post to see if there are any updates....It caught my attention because of the fact that there were two of them and as my mom always told me back before this happened "You safe with two"...Boy was mom wrong....I know that their dad was on a radio station back then and have wondered over the years how the family is doing? I remember that after this happened I realized that the world is not always a wonderful place...I grew up that year alot.....God Bless those two little girls (wherever they may be)

Does anyone else remember anything about this story???

WasBlind
09-15-2004, 05:15 PM
Doe link for Sheila Mary Lyon
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/64dfmd.html

Doe link for Katherine Mary Lyon
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/65dfmd.html

With HOPE, Lanie
Help For The Missing
HelpForTheMissing@yahoo.com

Richard
09-16-2004, 12:00 AM
The case of the missing Lyon sisters, Sheila and Katherine is Montgomery County's longest open cases. It received so much media attention back in 1975 because their father, John Lyon was a radio announcer and personality with WMAL AM radio. The station owner also owned Channel 7 TV and the Washington Post Newspaper. So this case received a lot of coverage.
Unfortunately, there just was not much evidence. The strongest lead to a suspect were several corroborated reports about the middle aged man in the brown suit with the tape recorder in a brown briefcase. Sheila and Kate were seen talking to that man, as were several other children. Police sketch artists drew a composite sketch of the suspect, and when this was published, about 15 new leads came in from other persons who had seen a man who resembled the sketch and fitting the description a few days earlier at two shopping centers in neighboring Prince Georges County. The man was never identified and no one ever came forward claiming to be him.
The extensive media coverage generated many tips and leads over the weeks, months, and even years following the girls disappearance.
I wrote the story that is repeated on most of the linked websites. It is long, but as concise and factual as I could be. There was much, much more information available in news paper stories, and certainly in Montgomery County Police files. At one time, those police files filled twenty three large boxes. There are probably more now. The case is still considered open and active.
Mr. Lyon is now a counselor who works with families who have lost a child. He was mentioned in the news a few years ago, when he provided support to the father of little Michele Dorr. Michele, also of Montgomery County, Maryland had been murdered by Hadan Clarke, in 1986 and buried near White Oak Naval Weapons Center. She was missing for 13 years before prosecutors got a conviction (without a body) on Clarke. After his conviction, Clarke led investigators to her grave.

mom-a-licious
09-17-2004, 01:51 AM
I lived in Prince Georges County and Montgomery Cty in the early to mid 70's, left about a year before this happened. Shopped often at the Wheaton Plaza, where the girls met the "tape recorder man" prior to their abduction. Someone somewhere knows this man---the sketch of him was definitely recognizable to enough people that they reported having seen him at other shopping centers prior to the sisters' disappearance, yet they didn't know who the guy was. Someone, somewhere who actually knew (and still knows) who this guy was also had to have recognized the sketch. This person still knows who this "tape recorder man" was. I wonder if the guy wasn't local to state or county, and if the sketch was circulated on a nationwide basis. I'd like to see the sketch myself, but have never seen it in any of the articles on line that I've read about this case. Would be nice if the sketch was still viewable somehwere, might jog someone's memory even after all this time.

Richard
09-18-2004, 12:59 AM
There were actually two sketches made of Tape Recorder Man, both done by artist PFC D. Morton of the Montgomery County Police. The first sketch appeared for the first time on 1 April 1975, and again on 2 April in the Washington Post Newspaper. The first sketch generated 15 phone-in leads which placed the unknown suspect at Iverson Mall and Marlow Heights Shopping center three days prior to the disappearance of the Lyon Sisters. based on information from new witnesses, the origional sketch was modified slightly and a second version of it appeared in the Post on 4 April, and again on 17 April. The sketch is of a caucasian, well dressed, middle aged man "in his 50's", with thick lips, a narrow nose, and with black and gray hair.
News reports of that time indicated that police spoke with at least one PG county man and possibly two or three, who may have fit the description of the suspect, but that none were considered to be suspects during the investigation.
In 1982, Montgomery County officers spent about three and a half hours digging "test holes" in the backyard of a house on Suitland Road, not far from the two Prince Georges County shopping centers. The house belonged to a man who had been convicted and imprisoned for murdering his wife and son in that same house in November 1977. Tips from other inmates led police to that backyard, but nothing was found, and the matter dropped.

Richard
09-18-2004, 02:02 PM
I tried to reply to your question about the sketch yesterday, but evidently the website did not accept my message.
There were two sketches made of Microphone Man, both by artist PFC D. Morton of the Montgomery County Police. The first was based on descriptions of witnesses who had seen him at Wheaton Plaza the day the girls disappeared. It was published 1 and 2 April in the Washington Post Newspaper.
Following publication of sketch No. 1, a number of people phoned in to say that they had seen a man who resembled the Sketch and description three days before the girls' disappearance. He was seen at two Prince Georges County Maryland Malls: Iverson Mall, and Marlow Heights Shopping center, both just south of Washington DC on Route 5.
Police interviewed a sales girl who stated that a man of this description had approached her with a microphone and tape recorder. He asked her to read a message for his answering machine, but she refused. He left, but was seen by at least two other teenaged girls whom he also approached. Based on their recollections, Sketch No. 1 was altered only slightly and published by the Post on 4 and later 17 April 1975.
Both sketches show a caucasian man in his 50's with thick lips, thin nose, medium brushed back hair which was black and gray in color. The man was said to be well dressed, and some witnesses said that he wore a brown suit and carried a brown briefcase.
Police reportedly questioned at least one PG county man, and possibly 2 or 3, but considered none of them to be viable suspects. The Microphone Man has never been identified and no one ever came forward to say that he was the person.
In 1982, MCP detectives dug "test holes" looking for possible remains of the girls in a yard behind a house on Suitland Road, not far from the PG County Shopping Centers. It was a house which had belonged to a man convicted of murdering his son and wife in 1977. The tip had come from other inmates at the Maryland Prison where he was serving a 40 year sentence. Nothing was found in the three hours that detectives spent looking, and the tip became only one of thousands filed away as unfruitful.

joellegirl
09-19-2004, 01:24 AM
I am glad to see this thread I started back in April has come back to life. This case has always bothered me. At least on the anniversary of their abduction, the newspapers should do a story, on the small chance it jogs some one's memory or causes someone with a guilty conscience to come forward. I wish shows like Unsolved Mysteries would profile this case, along with Evelyn Hartley, Janice Pockett, etc. All these cold cases need more media attention.

2sisters
09-19-2004, 01:53 AM
What was the reasoning for digging in the man's yard? Did it have anything to do with the Lyons girls? Does he resemble the sketch of the tape recorder man? This seems like a case with no end but I hope I am wrong. Keep us posted Richard, you have some good info.

smile22
09-20-2004, 09:06 AM
it would be nice if someone else took over the job that robert stack did for unsolved. since doing research on janice pockett, and others and then finding out about the 2 sisters its so sad that people could just take inoccent children. i do agree i think after a long period of time has passed they should re air info on the case on local news channels or the newspaper.

Richard
09-20-2004, 07:38 PM
What was the reasoning for digging in the man's yard? Did it have anything to do with the Lyons girls? Does he resemble the sketch of the tape recorder man? This seems like a case with no end but I hope I am wrong. Keep us posted Richard, you have some good info.

The Montgomery County Police detectives were indeed searching specifically for the Lyon sisters when they dug test holes in the yard on Suitland Road. It was one of many stories about the girls disappearance that was in the news over the years. Many tips were followed and many pediphiles and serial killers were investigated in depth before being ruled out.
In regard to the Suitland Road house, I cannot say specifically what information detectives had from the prison inmates, but I do know that it related directly to the Lyon Sisters. Detectives had to investigate and also had to make a determination as to the veracity of that information and as to the reliability of the informants. I do not know how much reliability was eventually given to them, or how thoroughly their information was checked, beyond the one time newspaper account.
There has been, however, subsequent information which seems to link the former owner of that house to the Lyon case. I have not seen a 1975 photo of that individual to compare to the sketch, but know that he was about 38 years old at the time. He is still incarcerated in a Maryland Prison. He had a home based cabinet repair business, and allegedly employed another person who had a long police record and who lived in several places near those two shopping centers.

Richard
09-29-2004, 01:01 PM
it would be nice if someone else took over the job that robert stack did for unsolved. since doing research on janice pockett, and others and then finding out about the 2 sisters its so sad that people could just take inoccent children. i do agree i think after a long period of time has passed they should re air info on the case on local news channels or the newspaper.

Fox Channel 5 in Washington DC airs a special once a week called "Cold Case Files" in which they feature various local cases which have not yet been solved. I do not recall ever seeing anything on TV about the Lyon Sisters. Newspapers make reference to their disappearance from time to time, but usually when comparing more recent crimes of a similar nature.
Some time after I wrote the story and posted it on "Marylands Most Missing" website, there was an anonymous tipster who provided investigators with a lot of second hand information. Much of what the tipster told investigators checked out, and certain persons were implicated as possible suspects. All tips and possible leads were passed directly to the officer in charge of the investigation.
You are right about the power of the media in regard to crime solving. Look at the case of the Unibomber for a perfect example. It was only after the Washington Post and the New York Times published the "Manifesto" (against the wishes of the FBI) that the right person recognized the writing and after 17 years, Ted Kaczinski, aka Unibom was caught.

smile22
09-29-2004, 01:17 PM
hi everyone i know there is already a project that fetures buttons and letters of the missing it was started by jasons mom and they feture a bunch of recent missing children, what i want to do is similar but i want to feture old cold cases such as the lyon sisters, janice pockett, eten patz, andy pulglise and others like the buttons and stuff that they do my theory is if you send out info on these old cold cases someone might remember something or someone if anyone is intrested or has any ideas or anything let me know, even bumper stickers

Jeana (DP)
09-29-2004, 03:49 PM
I think its a nice thing to want to do, but I feel like I need to warn you that we've had some serious stalking activities taking place over the past months. You're going to need to be careful who you give your address and personal information out to.

VespaElf
09-30-2004, 08:50 AM
I also think you'd need to contact the families for permission.


Have you considered just doing a Cold Cases website?

smile22
09-30-2004, 08:53 AM
yes i have considerd doing a cold case website, i woudlnt give out my add i would use a po box. but its just and idea. and yes i would contact the famliys. and i know most of them would prolly turn me down... if i was to do a website would i still need to contact them?

Jeana (DP)
09-30-2004, 09:12 AM
I can only speak for myself, but being one of those "families," I can only say that I have deep appreciation for people who want to help out, but I wouldn't ever want to be contacted out of the blue by anyone wanting to do something like this. Its too much of an intrusion. These families have to open every aspect of their homes and lives to law enforcement. They have very little left and again, speaking strickly for myself and my family, I think I'd have to say that this would spook the poo out of me.

Fronkensteen
11-11-2004, 08:45 AM
The Montgomery County Police detectives were indeed searching specifically for the Lyon sisters when they dug test holes in the yard on Suitland Road. It was one of many stories about the girls disappearance that was in the news over the years. Many tips were followed and many pediphiles and serial killers were investigated in depth before being ruled out.
In regard to the Suitland Road house, I cannot say specifically what information detectives had from the prison inmates, but I do know that it related directly to the Lyon Sisters. Detectives had to investigate and also had to make a determination as to the veracity of that information and as to the reliability of the informants. I do not know how much reliability was eventually given to them, or how thoroughly their information was checked, beyond the one time newspaper account.
There has been, however, subsequent information which seems to link the former owner of that house to the Lyon case. I have not seen a 1975 photo of that individual to compare to the sketch, but know that he was about 38 years old at the time. He is still incarcerated in a Maryland Prison. He had a home based cabinet repair business, and allegedly employed another person who had a long police record and who lived in several places near those two shopping centers.
Richard, do you have a picture of the sketch? I tried locating it, but to no avail.

Richard
11-11-2004, 08:07 PM
Froderick,
Yes, I do have copies of the two sketches made by Montgomery County Police. They were published by the Washington Post newspaper and I copied them from microfilm files.

Fronkensteen
11-12-2004, 11:31 AM
If I provided you with my email, would you mind sending them to me, if possible?

Thank you,

Froderick

Richard
11-12-2004, 05:32 PM
Yes, go ahead and send me your e-mail address by way of a personal message in this website, and I will try to get the sketches scanned and sent. They are presently paper photocopies made from a microfilm of a newspaper. So the clarity leaves something to be desired, but since they were only black and white sketches to begin with, they don't lose too much. If scanning does not work, I can try to fax them. I have never seen these sketches on any of the websites which feature the girls, and I have never seen them in press stories after 1975.
Richard

madmission
11-24-2004, 12:49 AM
I grew up in Maryland and was 9 years old in 1975. I will never forget the case of the Lyon Sisters. My best friend and I walked to the 7-11 which was about 2 miles from our homes and saw their pictures hanging in the store. We were in shock. We had never seen or heard of missing children. I still remember that feeling when I walked home...looking over my shoulder for this kidnapper. In my world, Maryland meant my neighborhood. A little of my innocence was lost that day. It wasn't until I was in high school that missing kids started appearing on milk cartons. Was the danger always there or are we just more aware of it because of the media attention? I would never let my kids(not that I have any) walk two miles to a store at 9 years old or 12 years old for that matter. I am so thankful for the innocence I had in my childhood.

I do recall another young boy who was abducted from our area around the same time. He was located and returned to his family but as a child I remember a rumor that there was a connection between this case and the Lyon case....something like this boy had seen the Lyon girls...probably was just a childhood rumor...I have no facts to back it up.

I will always remember the case of the Lyon Sisters as a rite of passage for me....my first glimpse of a dangerous world.

BTW....Has anyone read any of John Douglas', FBI profiler, books? Fascinating. I also saw him speak locally. I have learned alot about profiling from him and wonder what his thoughts would be on the Lyon Sisters.

smile22
11-24-2004, 08:13 AM
missing children were always there it wasnt till john walshes son went missing and then was turned up dead. did they really start to pay more attention to children john had to fight to pass a law for le to take missing childrens reports and eventualy they opened up the ncmec. prior to adam walshes murder. most le didnt really do much about a missing child they took the info down but little was done.. i hope they find the lyon sisters so they can be brought back to the family even though its an old case

Richard
11-24-2004, 10:43 AM
Many missing persons websites exist today, and most of them "borrow" information, files, photos, and stories from other websites. A few of the earlier websites have become defunct, yet their files appear on other sites, sometimes altered slightly. I wrote the origional story about the LYON sisters that most of these sites copy, quote, misquote, paraphrase, and alter. Because many of these "edited" versions of my 2001 story have induced errors, or have left out bits of information in the interest of brevity, I decided to locate my origional story and post it here for all to read.
-------------------------------------------

Sheila Mary Lyon

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 25, 1975 from Wheaton, Maryland
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: March 30, 1962
Age at the time: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 5'2; 100 pounds
Classification: Endangered Missing
NCIC Number: M-6053299749
Distinguishing Characteristics: Blonde hair; blue eyes. Sheila wears eyeglasses.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Katherine Mary Lyon

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 25, 1975 from Wheaton, Maryland
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: March 29, 1964
Age at time: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4'8; 85 pounds
Classification: Endangered Missing
NCIC Number: M-605329953
Distinguishing Characteristics: Blonde hair; blue eyes. Katherine has a birthmark inside her upper thigh. Her nickname is "Kate."

Case Details

Between 11:00 AM and Noon on Tuesday, 25 March 1975, Sheila M. LYON age 12, and her younger sister, Katherine M. (Kate) LYON age 10 left their home at 3121 Plyers Mill Road in Kensington, Maryland to walk to the Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center in Wheaton, located on the corner of University Boulevard and Veirs Mills Road, a distance of about half a mile from their home. The girls were on spring break from school and it was their intention to view Easter exhibits and to have lunch at The Orange Bowl Restaurant.

They were seen outside the Orange Bowl at about 1:00 PM by a 13-year-old boy who knew them. He described seeing them talking to a middle aged man in a brown suit who had a cassette tape recorder in a briefcase. The boy reported that other children were also talking to the man and into a microphone that he held. This boy's account to police investigators became the basis for a composite sketch and description of a possible suspect in the girls' disappearance.

The girls were seen in The Orange Bowl Restaurant about 2:00 PM by their own brother, Jay LYON age 14, who said that they were eating pizza together at the time.

Another friend of the sisters later reported seeing them walking west on Drumm Avenue between 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM near Devon Street. Drumm Avenue, a residential street, was part of the most direct route from Wheaton Plaza to their home. This was the last known sighting of the Lyon sisters.

The girls' mother, Mary LYON had told Sheila and Kate to be home by 4:00 PM, and when they had not arrived by 7:00 PM, she called the Montgomery County Police to report them missing.

The girls' father, John LYON, was an announcer for WMAL radio in Washington, DC. The radio station, area television stations, and the Washington Post newspaper gave the case much publicity. Many people in the Washington Metropolitan area were interested in the case and many were involved in trying to solve it. Rewards were raised and offered and many tips came in.

With the Washington Post's publication of the sketch of the "Tape Recorder Man" suspect, several people called to state that they had seen him at Wheaton Plaza on Monday, 24 March, the day before the girls' disappearance. Aproximately fifteen other callers recognized the sketch and description of the suspect as that of a man seen on Saturday, 22 March at Iverson Mall and at Marlton Heights Shopping Center, both in neighboring Prince Georges County, Maryland. This indivudal was reportedly approaching young girls with a request that they read an answering machine type message typed on an index card into the suspect's hand held microphone. Based on these witnesses, the first sketch was only slightly modified and reissued. A few Prince Georges County men were questioned, but none were considered viable suspects.

A massive search of the Kensington and Wheaton areas was conducted. The search involved tracking dogs, volunteers, National Guardsmen, Helicopters, and divers, but no trace of the girls was found.

In the days and weeks that followed, a few attempts at extortion were made by individuals demanding ransom payments. While most of these attempts were quickly considered crank calls, one was taken more seriously. This occurred on Friday, 4 April 1975, when a male caller demanded of John Lyon that he place $10,000 in a restroom at the Ann Arundel County Court House in Annapolis. John Lyon and Montgomery County Police officials left a briefcase as instructed, but no one came to retrieve it. The man later called back and said that there had been too many police in the area for him to get to the money. When told that he had to produce some evidence that he actually had the girls before the ransom would be paid, he said that he would call back, but never did. This was not made public until the following incident took place.

On Monday 7 April 1975, at 7:30 AM, a witness in Manassas, Virginia reported that he saw two young girls bound and gagged in the back of a beige 1968 Ford station wagon. This sighting was at the corner of Grant and Center Streets in Manassas. When the driver of the car (a man who the witness said resembled the composite sketch of the suspect) saw that he was being followed and watched, he accelerated, ran a red light, and drove west on route 234 toward Interstate 66. It was reported that the vehicle had Maryland plates, possibly with the following letter/number combination: DMT-6**. The last two numbers could not be seen because the plate was bent. That combination of letters had been issued in Cumberland, Hagerstown and Baltimore, Maryland. A search for all possible combinations of those plate numbers failed to produce any information.

With that last report, at first deemed credible, but later considered questionable by police, the case of Sheila and Kate Lyon gradually went from front page daily news to sporadic updates and then to anniversary articles.

Fred Howard Coffey Jr. was viewed as a possible suspect in the sisters' cases beginning in March 1987. Coffey is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for murder and child molestation convictions. Authorities learned that he began working at a scientific firm based in Silver Spring, Maryland one month after the Lyon sisters vanished. Investigators have been unable to determine if Coffey is connected to the cases and he has never been charged in their disappearances.

Investigators considered Raymond Rudolph Mileski Sr. another potential suspect in the girls' disappearances. Mileski resided at 5816 Suitland Road in Suitland, Maryland (Prince Georges County) in 1975. He murdered his wife and teenage son inside their home after a disagreement in November 1977. Mileski's youngest 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 Lyon cases, but no evidence was discovered.

Although occasional leads have been given to the police over the years, the case remains open and unsolved to this day.

Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Montgomery County Police Department
240-773-5070

smile22
11-25-2004, 12:39 PM
the suspects that they had in mind did they have pics of them and if they did, did any of them resemble the sketch and what was the recording that the guy wanted? from those kids.

Richard
11-26-2004, 12:20 AM
the suspects that they had in mind did they have pics of them and if they did, did any of them resemble the sketch and what was the recording that the guy wanted? from those kids.

Many persons were questioned by police concerning the Lyon sisters, probably not many of them were photographed as a rule. Police are always careful to say whether or not someone is "considered a suspect". That always implies that they have some sort of evidence on a specific individual. In this case, there simply was very little physical evidence that a crime was even committed. The girls were known to be at the Mall, and were seen talking to the man with the tape recorder, then they disappeared within the next two or three hours. No one actually saw them abducted, and they have never been found.
Some of the possible suspects investigated over the years have been career criminals or convicts in prisons. In those cases, booking photos and official prison photos do exist. I do not know how many of those photos resemble the sketch. I have copies of both sketches, but do not know exactly how to post them in this forum.
Regarding what the Tape Recorder Man wanted recorded: No one stated specifically what he wanted from the Lyon Sisters, or any other children on the day the girls disappeared. At least it was not reported in the papers. Witnesses at two other malls (in Prince Georges County) stated that a man who matched the description and sketch of the Montgomery County Tape Recorder Man had been approaching young teen aged girls and he would say something like "Gee, you have a nice voice. I like the sound of a girl's voice. Would you read an answering machine message for me?" He handed an index card to some of the PG County girls and asked them to read from it, but the girls he approached stated that they refused to do so.

smile22
11-26-2004, 12:31 PM
very intresting. how long was the man at the mall? does anyone know if he was there when the girls were on the way home maybe he was secretly following them from a distance and saw them walking home and deicided to follow them

Richard
11-26-2004, 06:40 PM
very intresting. how long was the man at the mall? does anyone know if he was there when the girls were on the way home maybe he was secretly following them from a distance and saw them walking home and deicided to follow them

Here is what the Washington Post of Tuesday, April 1, 1975,(one week after the girls disappeared) had to say about the Tape Recorder Man Suspect when they ran the first sketch for the first time:

Quote: Last Friday, police said they were told that a man, described as a white male, about 6 feet tall, wearing a brown suit and carrying a brown briefcase, talked to the young girls at 1 p.m. outside the Orange Bowl Restaurant at Wheaton Plaza. The informant, police said, was a 13-year-old boy who knows the two girls well.
Police said the boy told them that he walked past the girls and the man and saw the girls speaking into a microphone attached to a cassette tape recorder inside the briefcase. After drawing up a composite sketch from the boy's description, police said they interviewed store officials and clerks in Wheaton Plaza and showed them the sketch, but did not come up with any leads. A WMAL spokesman said some people at the station also were shown the sketch before it was released, but that no one recognized the man.
"We're checking the sketch with known sex deviates and ... against everything we got," said Capt. Gabriel Lamastra, head of the county's juvenile section. "To be honest, I wouldn't tell you if we made a hit or not." Unquote.
(After the sketch was published, there were some store clerks who stated that they had seen the man at Wheaton Plaza on Monday, 24 March the day prior to the girls disappearance.)

The very next day, 2 April 1975, the Washington Post reported that: (quote) From more than 300 callers who responded to publication and televising of the sketch, police said they discerned a "pattern" emerging of a man with a tape recorder approaching young girls in suburban shopping centers. (unquote) and that further: (quote) Police... had received at least 15 phone calls from mothers of teen-aged girls who said their daughters had been "bothered" recently by an man with at tape recorder at suburban Maryland shopping centers. (unquote)

That is a lot of tips about the suspect. Unfortunately, there are no further reports of any sightings of the man past 1PM on Tuesday 25 March 1975. No person ever came forward to say "Hey, that was me, and I was only doing..." It was their last solid lead in the case.

Now what you have to wonder is this: Did this weird guy have nothing whatever to do with the girls disappearance, and another person or persons abducted them within the next two or three hours? Or was there a connection? Most logical thinkers would tend to see a connection. But not necessarily an immediate one. The girls were seen by their brother in the Restaurant at 2 PM and later by a 15 year old boy who knew them between 2:30 and 3:30 PM walking home.

The girls' mother stated at one point that she believed that someone in a vehicle may have come up to the girls and might have told them that their father had been hurt and that their mother wanted them to go with him to the hospital. She felt that such a ruse might have worked on them.

Such a person might have been the Tape Recorder Man, or perhaps an accomplice working with him. Perhaps his tape recording was done only as a way to interview potential victims and to build some rapor with them for the next encounter.

Subsequent police interviews with sales clerks and girls who had been approached led to a slight alteration of the origional sketch, and that new sketch was published on Friday, 4 April in the Washington Post. The accompanying article stated that Police spokesman Phillip Caswell said: "There are no new leads and no suspects have been developed in the case. We just continue to pound leather and wear out the tires on our cruisers". This was immediately after a paragraph that stated: "Montgomery police said they had checked out a number of tips yesterday, including one that led them to interview a man in Prince George's County, but that these had 'washed out' by early evening." So clearly the Montgomery County Police were making seemingly contradictory statements almost simultaneously.

The end of the article included some quotes from a Capt. Charles Goddard, who headed the 16 man security force at Iverson Mall. He stated that they had been looking for the suspect, but that they had detained no one. Interestingly, the last paragraph stated the following:

(Quote): Goddard added that Montgomery police had told him in connection with the Lyon search, to be on the lookout for a blue Falcon Station Wagon covered with stickers and slogans, including a bumper sticker from Walt Disney's Florida resort known as Disneyworld. (unquote)

This was the first time that any specific vehicle was mentioned, and there was never any further elaboration on it or why it was a suspect vehicle.

Richard
11-29-2004, 11:04 AM
On July 24, 1975, 15 year-old Kathy Lynn Beatty of Aspen Hill/Rockville, Maryland was found badly beaten and possibly sexually molested in a ditch behind a department store in Silver Spring, Maryland. Twelve days later, on August 5, 1975, she died of her injuries at Suburban Hospital. Her assailant was never identified and the case has never been solved.

Aspen Hill is only a few blocks north of Wheaton Plaza, where the Lyon Sisters were last seen alive on March 25, 1975.

Could the two cases be connected?

In 1987, Montgomery County Police investigated a possible lead that Fred Howard Coffey Jr. might have been involved in one or both crimes. It was determined that Coffey had started working at a scientific company in Silver Spring only one week after the Lyon Sisters disappeared. Wheaton Plaza and Aspen Hill are both within one mile of that company's offices. the problem was that police could just not establish any evidentiary links between Coffey and the two cases.

In 1987, Coffey was serving 50 years for molesting three children in North Carolina, and was facing trial for the rape/murder of another little girl, Amanda Ray, age 10. Coffey was subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to Death. While on death row, his conviction and sentence was appealed and sent back for re-sentencing. Again, he was sentenced to Death. Another appeal found that because subsequent misconduct (his sexual molestation of children) was introduced during the sentencing phase that this constituted an unfair, illegal procedure, because that misconduct had to have occurred BEFORE the crimes with which he was being charged.

Coffey's sentence was commuted to Life - and he has been up for Parole several times in recent years. Just the kind of guy we need back in society. See separate thread subject on Coffey and Check out the links below.

Offender Data Screen:
http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender/offend1?DOCNUM=0081135

Coffey, FH. 704:
http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/Police/Crime+Info/Citizen+Watch+Programs/Citizens+Parole+Advisory+Committee/Fred+Howard+Coffey%2c+Jr.+704.htm

Text of Decision to disallow subsequent crime info at sentencing:
http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/nc-supreme-court/jun1794/coffey

joellegirl
11-29-2004, 04:15 PM
I wonder if police have compared a circa 1975 photo of Coffey with the sketch of the "tape recorder man". I remember reading some link (the Neal J Conway article?) where police have a strong suspect(who is in prison) in the Lyon case but certain laws keep them from questioning him about it? I think it is nuts that that this person can't be questioned but i don't understand all the laws etc. I wonder if that person is Coffey.

joellegirl
11-29-2004, 04:26 PM
Link to the Neal J Conway article on the Lyon sisters:

http://www.nealjconway.com/essays/whyweliketobe/lyonsisters.html

Richard
11-29-2004, 05:23 PM
I wonder if police have compared a circa 1975 photo of Coffey with the sketch of the "tape recorder man". I remember reading some link (the Neal J Conway article?) where police have a strong suspect(who is in prison) in the Lyon case but certain laws keep them from questioning him about it? I think it is nuts that that this person can't be questioned but i don't understand all the laws etc. I wonder if that person is Coffey.

I am pretty sure that the police have compared their sketches with every suspect that has come to their attention. Although they probably could not (for legal reasons) state publicly their opinion of how close a match any of them are. One case officer did make some comments to the press in 1987 about Coffey's age being 30 in 1975, and how that differs from the "50 years-old" estimation of the boy who described the Tape Recorder Man. The officer also pointed out that sometimes children have a hard time estimating the ages of adults.

smile22
11-30-2004, 01:59 PM
yes children do my godson has this really vivid imagination and will sometimes mistake things for what they really are.. did any of the witnesses go through hipnosis sometimes when ur hipnotized u rememeber some of the oddest things that you couldnt remember

LillyRush
11-30-2004, 02:26 PM
Not to say that the microphone-man may not have been the abductor, but it's possible that some other perp completely unrelated to the mall had been driving by when they were walking back home alone. There were other instances in the '70s of young girls disappearing while on their way back from shopping. Although I suppose pair and/or group disappearances are rare. most of the other cases were individuals (w/ the exception of a few cases). I'll have to look for the links somewhere. One of the websites that used to have very good descriptions of old cases is no longer up and running, unfortunately.

Richard
11-30-2004, 02:44 PM
Not to say that the microphone-man may not have been the abductor, but it's possible that some other perp completely unrelated to the mall had been driving by when they were walking back home alone. There were other instances in the '70s of young girls disappearing while on their way back from shopping. Although I suppose pair and/or group disappearances are rare. most of the other cases were individuals (w/ the exception of a few cases). I'll have to look for the links somewhere. One of the websites that used to have very good descriptions of old cases is no longer up and running, unfortunately.

It is certainly a possibility that someone totally unrelated to the Tape Recorder Man could have been the abductor. It is pretty likely that the girls were abducted rather than lost or run aways. But the fact that no one could ever identify the man with the microphone, and the fact that he never came forward to clear things up does add to the suspicion that he was probably also the abductor or part of an abduction team.

The back roads that the girls took to and from the mall were a maze of loops and dead-ends in an older housing subdivision. All the houses on their path were checked and owners spoken with by police. Any one cruising those roads, looking for a victim of opportunity would have had to know them pretty well, and even then would have been taking quite a chance at being seen by someone.

Fronkensteen
12-02-2004, 01:15 PM
I am pretty sure that the police have compared their sketches with every suspect that has come to their attention. Although they probably could not (for legal reasons) state publicly their opinion of how close a match any of them are. One case officer did make some comments to the press in 1987 about Coffey's age being 30 in 1975, and how that differs from the "50 years-old" estimation of the boy who described the Tape Recorder Man. The officer also pointed out that sometimes children have a hard time estimating the ages of adults.
Coffey was described in a Charlotte Observer article of 10/17/04 (http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/news/9941209.htm) as a "gray-haired stranger" in 1979, even though he would only have been 34 at the time. It's possible that his hair was prematurely grey by 1975, and that a child could have mistaken the then 30 year old Coffey as a much older man. I had a friend who was going noticeably grey at age 18.

Richard
12-05-2004, 07:35 AM
The term "Cold Case" is usually used to mean that a case has been unsolved and that it has been closed due to lack of evidence, lack of suspect, or other reasons. With new technology and sometimes with the arrest of a serial killer, many Cold Cases have been reopened and solved recently.

It should be noted, that although the case of the Lyon Sisters appears on this website with the "Cold Cases", it has never been considered a Cold Case by Montgomery County Police. It is actually their longest running, continuously Open Case. It has always been regarded as active with an investigator assigned. This coming March marks the 30th anniversary of Sheila and Kate's disappearance. Their case is quite possibly the longest running Open Case in Maryland, and probably ranks among the longest running Open Cases US history.

mom-a-licious
12-06-2004, 01:39 PM
1) Were there ever any more reported incidents of a man trying to use the same tape-recorder tactics anywhere else *after* the Lyon sisters disappearance? Or only during the time-frame prior to their abduction?

If this tactic worked so well, and those who abduct will often try to do so again using the same methods, I wonder if any future reports of someone trying to use this same tactic thing ever came up.

2) If tape recorder man was the abductor, then was never seen doing his thing again, makes me wonder about men of that general age who may have been arrested and imprisoned, or died, or committed suicide in the near future after the girls went missing. This would of course prevent this man from ever using this approach again.

3) What purpose did using the tape-recorder approach at the mall serve for the man, if he was the one who abducted the girls? They weren't taken at the mall, they were seen walking home quite a bit later.

Perhaps the tactic was used to both choose the victim and also to establish a level of familiarity so that the abductor could more easily lure the girls later in another area away from the mall, with something such as "Hi, remember me? Something went wrong with that tape we made, so could you come here and talk into it again?"

4) Perhaps TR man didn't have anything to do with the abduction, was so frightened by seeing a sketch resembling him and his actions related in the media, that he hid out and then disappeared, never using his tactics again.

5) I still keep wondering why with as much exposure as this case has had, that even though the sketch was recognizable to so many people who had seen this man at the malls, not one person recognized it as someone they could even tenatively put a name to.

Richard
12-07-2004, 01:06 AM
1) Were there ever any more reported incidents of a man trying to use the same tape-recorder tactics anywhere else *after* the Lyon sisters disappearance? Or only during the time-frame prior to their abduction?

If this tactic worked so well, and those who abduct will often try to do so again using the same methods, I wonder if any future reports of someone trying to use this same tactic thing ever came up.

2) If tape recorder man was the abductor, then was never seen doing his thing again, makes me wonder about men of that general age who may have been arrested and imprisoned, or died, or committed suicide in the near future after the girls went missing. This would of course prevent this man from ever using this approach again.

3) What purpose did using the tape-recorder approach at the mall serve for the man, if he was the one who abducted the girls? They weren't taken at the mall, they were seen walking home quite a bit later.

Perhaps the tactic was used to both choose the victim and also to establish a level of familiarity so that the abductor could more easily lure the girls later in another area away from the mall, with something such as "Hi, remember me? Something went wrong with that tape we made, so could you come here and talk into it again?"

4) Perhaps TR man didn't have anything to do with the abduction, was so frightened by seeing a sketch resembling him and his actions related in the media, that he hid out and then disappeared, never using his tactics again.

5) I still keep wondering why with as much exposure as this case has had, that even though the sketch was recognizable to so many people who had seen this man at the malls, not one person recognized it as someone they could even tenatively put a name to.

All excellent comments and observations. To answer your first point, Nobody was seen after the girls disappearance at any area malls with the tape recorder. I know that Iverson mall Security officers were specifically looking for anyone fitting the man's description and actions in the weeks following the 25 March incident.

This was front page news in the entire Washington DC metropolitan area, and people were all looking for this guy and any sign of the girls. Anybody attempting a Tape Recorder Man impression, for whatever reason would have been noticed immediately.

If anybody used such a tactic elsewhere, I have not heard of it, but that is not to say that a subsequent Tape Recorder Man might have appeared in another city. Although this was big news in the Washington area, it was before the kind of National coverage and attention that occurs today in abduction cases.

It is certainly possible that the guy with the Tape Recorder was just a harmless weirdo who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I find that difficult to accept. A middle aged man going to a mall and tape recording young girls is innappropriate no matter how you look at it.
And another thing, the girls disappearance was not in the papers until late the following day. But Tape Recorder Man had vanished at about the same time the Lyon Sisters did. I am sure that he got plenty scared in the days to follow with all the publicity and news that he had generated, but his exit from the scene at the same time as the girls disappearance is suspect.

I also think that he must have been somewhat of an "unknown" to the area since many folks remembered seeing him, but nobody could put a name to him. My feeling is that he was fairly new to the area, and may have left soon after the girls abduction. Police checked out all known pediphiles and sex criminals at the time and for years afterward with no luck.

Your comment on his use of the tape recorder as a set up to a subsequent contact sounds very likely. If this was in fact the same guy seen the day before at Wheaton Plaza and three days before at both Iverson Mall and Marlow Heights Shopping Center (both are right next to each other and South of Washington), then it means that he was biding his time until the right opportunity presented itself. I don't think the girls were specific targets for abduction, (like for ransom) but rather victims of opportunity.

Regarding WHERE the girls were abducted - there is some room for debate and confusion - whether it was in the parking lot of Wheaton Plaza, or on the back streets to their house. Initially the police told the press that someone had seen the girls in the vicinity of the mall as late as 7:00 PM. This was later found to be incorrect, but it caused the boy who believed that he had seen the girls on Drumm Ave between 2:30 and 3:00 PM to remain silent for a few days before coming forward. This delay then caused the police to wonder if he might have seen them on a previous day and just thought he had seen them at that time on the 25th. Or if he might have been mistaken about the time that he saw them there.

The place on Drumm Ave that they were supposedly last seen is only about a block from Wheaton Plaza parking lot. It is not a driving entrance to the mall today, but may have been one back in 1975. So it would not have been far for the abductor to travel, and he may have positioned himself in a place that he could have observed anyone else in the vicinity and taken his chance if the coast looked clear. Nobody ever came forward to report having seen the girls taken.

smile22
12-07-2004, 10:41 AM
since media coverage back then was spars and only the place were u were last seen and and like a few other towns or a neighboring state herd about the disaperances, was this ever nationaly covered like after, when media was like the big outlet for missing children and such.. someone out there knows something. what about hypnosis on the people who saw the tape man or the people to last see the girls. they might remember something

Richard
12-07-2004, 09:48 PM
since media coverage back then was spars and only the place were u were last seen and and like a few other towns or a neighboring state herd about the disaperances, was this ever nationaly covered like after, when media was like the big outlet for missing children and such.. someone out there knows something. what about hypnosis on the people who saw the tape man or the people to last see the girls. they might remember something

As far as I know, there has never been any kind of National coverage of the Lyon Sisters' case by newspapers, radio, or television. It was not until the late 1990's that their pictures and a very short few sentences about them appeared in the NCMEC data base. I wrote the story a few posts back in this forum about 1999 and it was first published in 2000 by a website for missing persons, which is now defunct. The national and international coverage that this case now has is due to the proliferation of websites such as this one which have picked up their story and featured it. This is true of many other cases as well.

I agree with you that the best evidence and information available to the Montgomery County Police was the first hand accounts of those people who had seen and remembered Tape Recorder Man. Their names were never published and none were ever interviewed by the press. If a list of those primary witnesses could be made from MCP files, and as many as possible located and interviewed, perhaps more information could be made available - even at this late date. Who knows, maybe they saw the guy later and no one requestioned about him. Also, perhaps a photo gallery of past suspects could be shown to them for possible Identification.

revlis
12-08-2004, 03:20 PM
Richard....I thought awhile back i heard something about a person who had murdered those little girls in Fredericksburg, Virginia in either late 1980's or early 90's being looked at as someone of interest in the lyons case.. Am i right or wrong? I'm sorry, but i don't remember the little ones names in Virginia, but i do remember one was on her front doorsteps doing homework when she disappeared...Does any of this ring a bell or am i having brain gas again??? thanks for all your updates on this case!!!

Richard
12-09-2004, 07:26 AM
Richard....I thought awhile back i heard something about a person who had murdered those little girls in Fredericksburg, Virginia in either late 1980's or early 90's being looked at as someone of interest in the lyons case.. Am i right or wrong? I'm sorry, but i don't remember the little ones names in Virginia, but i do remember one was on her front doorsteps doing homework when she disappeared...Does any of this ring a bell or am i having brain gas again??? thanks for all your updates on this case!!!

The girls you are thinking of were Sofia Silva and Kristen and Kati Lisk. Their killer was caught after abducting another young girl who escaped. There were some references made to the Lyon Sisters during that time (mid 1990's) but I do not believe that the perpetrator was ever linked to them.

Richard
12-09-2004, 11:24 AM
Richard Marc Evonitz was the abductor and murderer of Sofia Silvia and the Lisk Sisters, Kristen and Kati. He was not actually captured, but committed suicide when faced with imminent capture. He would have been only 12 years old when the Lyon Sisters disappeared, but as indicated in this article, he is being looked at as a possible suspect in other abductions and murders. Here is a link to a website with some pretty gruesome details about him:

Marc Evonitz was a classic sociopath, a man who appeared on the outside to be a normal guy; an intelligent, hard-working, white-collar husband. But underneath he was a man obsessed with bondage, pornography, and young girls. A homicidal bomb just waiting to go off. ...

Evonitz was born in 1963 in Colombia, South Carolina. ...

On September 9, 1996, Sofia Silva disappeared from her rural Spotsylvania home. There were not signs of struggle. It appeared as if Silva had been doing her homework on her front porch when she simply disappeared. No sign of Silva could be found and family and friends hoped she might possibly be returned safely. Five weeks later her body was found in a shallow pond twenty miles from her home.

It appears that an appearance in bankruptcy court is what triggered his next two killings. After a morning court date on May 1, 1997, Evonitz arrived at the Lisk family home, like the Silva house, in a rural area of Spotsylvania County. Also like the Silva abduction, he had carefully scouted the after school habits of the Lisk daughters, fifteen-year-old Kristin and twelve-year-old Kati, and abducted them without a fight before the two girls had even made in into the house after being dropped off by their respective school buses. Kristin's book bag laying in the front yard was the only sign that anything was amiss. Despite a massive search, the Lisk sisters were found dead five days later and forty miles away in the South Anna River.

The similarities in the two cases were unmistakable. Three dark-haired, pretty, slender young girls, missing immediately after returning home from school and later found dead in water long distances from their homes. All three were drowned but not at the their places of discovery. ...

Authorities are still attempting to link Evonitz to several rapes and murders, so far without success.

Link
http://www.geocities.com/verbal_plainfield/a-h/evonitz.html

marylandmissing
12-19-2004, 11:01 PM
The brother of Katherine and Sheila is a Montgomery County detective...The father works at the Stephanie Roper Foundation. Family rarely gives interviews or talks about the case anymore. Last one was a couple years ago on Fox News DC about the Doe Network.

I turned over an email I got about the case to Montgomery and state police, but nothing ever came of it that I know of.

Richard
12-20-2004, 07:53 AM
"Tape Recorder Man" Suspect Sketch now on Doe Network

The first suspect in the case of the Missing Lyon sisters was an unidentified man seen by a 13 year-old boy talking with Sheila and Katherine at Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center. The boy described the man as middle aged, "about 50" with Salt and Pepper hair, standing about 6 feet tall. He was well dressed in a brown suit, carrying a brown briefcase which held a cassette tape recorder. In one hand he held a microphone, into which the girls were seen speaking.
On 28 March 1975, three days after the girls disappeared, Montgomery County Police officer D. Morton made a sketch of the unidentified man and it was shown to employees of several stores at Wheaton Plaza, but no one knew who it was. On 1 April 1975, the origional sketch was released to the news media where it appeared in papers and on television. The release of the sketch generated over 300 phone tips the first day. Although the suspect was never identified by name, several people called to say that the same man had been seen at Wheaton Plaza the day prior to the girls disappearance, and 15 mothers of young girls in neighboring Prince George's County called to say that a man fitting the description and sketch had been seen in two adjacent shopping centers on 22 March 1975 bothering their daughters with requests to speak into his microphone.
"Tape Recorder Man" was last seen at aproximately the same time that the Lyon Sisters disappeared on 25 March 1975. The first sketch appeared twice in the Washington Post. Based on statements by some of the other witnesses, the origional sketch was slightly altered by Officer Morton and reissued to the media. The second sketch showed a slightly smaller chin on the suspect, but all other information remained the same. These sketches have not been published by any newspaper or magazine since mid April 1975, but the Doe Network has just included them both on their website, along with a more comprehensive case summary.

Links:
Sheila Lyon - The Doe Network: Case File 64DFMD
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/64dfmd.html

Katherine Lyon - The Doe Network: Case File 65DFMD
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/65dfmd.html

Richard
12-20-2004, 08:39 AM
The brother of Katherine and Sheila is a Montgomery County detective...The father works at the Stephanie Roper Foundation. Family rarely gives interviews or talks about the case anymore. Last one was a couple years ago on Fox News DC about the Doe Network.

I turned over an email I got about the case to Montgomery and state police, but nothing ever came of it that I know of.

With the 30th anniversary of this case coming up in March, there may be more media interest and coverage. It is certainly understandable that the family would decline to talk about their loss, when there has been no solid evidence since the day their daughters went missing.
It is my personal belief and hope that this case may still be solved.

Montgomery County Police have many boxes of witness statements, investigative reports, phone tips, and other information which they have collected and filed over the years. Some answers may be found in those files, but first the right questions have to be asked. I say this as a general statement, not as any criticism of the police. If this case is to be solved, it will ultimately be the Montgomery County Police who will officially solve it. But I also believe that the media (including on-line sites) and members of the public will play a major part in the solution.

When closely following an open investigation such as this case, and submitting possible witness information, it would be nice to have some feedback regarding whether or not they intend to follow up on those tips. Even a note to say that they got the information would be appropriate.

Shows like America's Most Wanted have proven time and again that tips from the public solve crimes. However, all too often police departments hold back information which, if released to the public, could lead to the right informant tip.

A perfect example of this is the FBI and their 17 year search for the Unibomber. The FBI advised the Washington Post and New York Times NOT to publish Unibom's "manifesto", and then the FBI proceeded to release bits and pieces of that document to other media outlets. Finally both newspapers ignored the FBI and published the Manifesto in its entirety. This led directly to Ted Kaczinski's brother contacting the FBI and saying that he could identify the Unibomber and tell them where he was. He asked for no reward, and only requested that the FBI let him remain anonymous. The FBI caught Ted, and immediately began to grandstand "their" success. One of the first things they did was to release the identity of their informant and to ridicule in the national news media some of the many tips which had come in to them.

smile22
12-20-2004, 12:39 PM
do u think that they have info that they have witheald from the public stuff they thought was only for le and wouldnt mean a thing to the public? what if they took a risk and gave out some info not alot but some of the sealed stuff maybe someone might know something

Fronkensteen
12-20-2004, 04:44 PM
The brother of Katherine and Sheila is a Montgomery County detective...The father works at the Stephanie Roper Foundation. Family rarely gives interviews or talks about the case anymore. Last one was a couple years ago on Fox News DC about the Doe Network.

I turned over an email I got about the case to Montgomery and state police, but nothing ever came of it that I know of.
NPR had an interview with John Lyon in 2002. You can find it here:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1149289

Richard
12-20-2004, 08:31 PM
do u think that they have info that they have witheald from the public stuff they thought was only for le and wouldnt mean a thing to the public? what if they took a risk and gave out some info not alot but some of the sealed stuff maybe someone might know something

In this particular case, I do not think that they have much - if any - first hand evidence regarding the girls disappearance. They were quick to release all pertinent information regarding the girls' descriptions, clothing, etc.

That said, the best piece of evidence they seem to have is the sketch of "Tape Recorder Man" which they have not released to any news media since April 1975. Except for listing the girls in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the late 1990's, the Montgomery County Police have made little or no effort to publicize this case. Most of the information on the various websites today can be found in old newspaper archives.

There is a lot of information in the police files concerning various people that MCP investigated in connection with the case. For instance, any time an individual of interest came to their attention, MCP would check the guy's record, and question him on his whereabouts on 25 March 1975, question others about him, and then decide that he was not a suspect - or maybe they just could not connect him with the crime scene. For quite a number of reasons, the police would not include specific information on such persons in any press releases.


I think that there are times (not necessarily in this case) that some information is intentionally withheld that (if released to the public) could have stopped a criminal sooner.

marylandmissing
12-20-2004, 10:07 PM
Also - police "footwork" was just that back then. No real computers to link criminals. NCIC just started that year, and would take hours to pull up anything. Mostly they got information on convicted offenders by callers, or people calling individual police stations up and down the coast.

Richard
12-30-2004, 12:13 PM
The Lyon Sisters' Case has been an open police investigation since 1975 when the girls went missing from Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center. From the start, police checked out all known perverts, pedeophiles, and rapists, but none were developed as "suspects" in the case.

The fact that Sheila and Kate disappeared so quickly and never turned up again left police with little to go on in the way of physical evidence. There had not been any other recent cases of abduction (which this undoubtedly was) in the Maryland area, and the fact that it was an abduction of more than one at the same time, made it very rare, indeed. For a serial killer to abduct TWO girls in broad daylight from a crowded mall, he had to have been either well practiced and sure of himself, or just plain crazy and lucky. Perhaps a combination of the two.

With no previous similar crimes to connect to, it has been the subsequent crimes which have been of interest to investigators. There have been many individuals considered as potential suspects, but none have ever been declared by police to actually BE Suspects. My next post will discuss some of the "Individuals of Interest" who have appeared over the years.

cat-girl
01-27-2005, 01:06 PM
Wow - it's amazing to think it's been almost 30 years and the Lyons girls were never found. I just read "The Lovely Bones" and it got me thinking/googling about those girls. I was 13 in 1975 and lived a block away from them (across the street from Tommy, the boy who saw them talking to the man at the plaza). I knew Sheila by sight because we waited at the same stop for the junior high school bus. I remember talking to friends about how to treat her when she came back -- that we would be nicer if the girls had been kidnapped than if they had run away. Sheila seemed a bit nerdy and wore glasses, like me. I didn't think she had it in her to run off with hippies, one theory at the time... but I would have been a little thrilled if that was what happened. It didn't occur to us that they had truly disappeared.

Just to give perspective, it was totally normal to walk to Wheaton Plaza the back way, something most kids in the area did without a second thought. Parents considered it safe because none of the streets were busy -- you simply turned at a vacant lot and walked along a short path that climbed up to the back of the parking lot. Later, that path was seen as the scariest place, and the one where most of us assumed the abduction took place. In retrospect though, it wouldn't have seemed out of the ordinary for a car to pull over in the residential neighborhood and a couple kids to hop in for a ride.

I hope the media do something on the story for the 30th anniversary. As far as I can remember, that was the first big story of a horror that later became depressingly common. I live on the west coast, but still think about the family when I visit Kensington and pass their old house.

joellegirl
01-27-2005, 02:08 PM
Catgirl, That is so interesting that you kind of knew them and lived just a block away. Thanks for sharing your memories, it gives us a whole new perspective. I wish more people who knew (or at least sort of knew) the victims we all discuss here would post. Do you remember anything else about the sisters? I remember a while back a poster, saying she was Janice Pockett's cousin(another girl sadly still missing), remembered that Janice always had Tic Tacs with her. It's small stuff like that that I find interesting. I really don't know why, I guess it's just when you think of these missing people it is interesting to know more about them, not just their vital statisitcs, like height etc.

The Lyon sister's case has stayed with me ever since I read about it a few years back. Such a tragic story.

Thanks again for posting. Share more if you remember any other tidbits.

marylandmissing
01-27-2005, 04:13 PM
I'm sure all the local papers will revisit this case in March. I plan to contact all of them to remind them, nevertheless.

Richard
01-27-2005, 04:42 PM
I'm sure all the local papers will revisit this case in March. I plan to contact all of them to remind them, nevertheless.

Hopefully this will get the case some more attention. On the 25th anniversary, the Washington Post and Washington Times had nothing about it. The only paper that carried anything (that I saw) was the Baltimore Sun, which had a full page spread on the case.

WUSA TV4 does a weekly special with Joe Krebbs called Cold Case Files. I contacted them and provided them with a lot of information. One of their producers called me in December to state that they do intend to feature the case of the Missing Lyon Sisters in March.

marylandmissing
01-27-2005, 06:47 PM
Kewl. I know Joe Krebs personally. Hopefully, he will. He's the nicest reporter I've ever met.

Richard
01-28-2005, 09:58 PM
There have been a number of possible suspects in the case of the Missing Lyon Sisters. Some of these were actually investigated thoroughly, while others may have appeared briefly in the news but may have been eliminated as suspects for one reason or other.

-----------------------------------
Arthur Frederick "Freddie" GOODE III

Freddie was a homosexual pedophile who lived in Hyattsville, Maryland (Prince Georges County). He had been arrested on three separate occasions for indecent assults on minors when in March 1975 (Same month and year that the Lyon Sisters disappeared) he was arrested for five sexual assaults on a 9 year-old boy. The Goode Family raised $25,000 to bail him out and while on bail, he attacked an eleven year-old. After some plea bargaining, Freddie got five years probation on the condition that he voluntarily undergo treatment at a mental health hospital.

Because his treatment was "voluntary" the hospital had no right to hold him and after 15 weeks, Freddie walked out and traveled by bus to Florida. While there, on 5 March 1976 he met and strangled 9 year-old Jason VerDow. He was questioned by police in Florida, but they did not know of a Maryland warrant out for him, so he was not detained.

He then met a 10 year-old boy named Billy Arthe and traveled with him to Washington DC, where the two met Kenny Dawson, age 11. In Billy's presense, Freddie strangled Kenny. After a woman saw a photo of the missing Billy, she alerted Baltimore police to Freddie Goode's location. He was arrested, and Billy became a witness at Freddie's murder trial. The Maryland court sentenced him to life in prison and then extradited him to Florida where he was convicted of Jason VerDow's murder and sentenced to death.

Where was he on 25 March 1975? Freddie's victims were all in the age range of the Lyon Sisters, but his known victims were all boys. Also, Freddie traveled by bicycle and bus most of the time. These factors would tend to rule him out as the girls' abductor.

Richard
01-28-2005, 10:02 PM
Ellwood Leroy LEUSCHNER

On 1 November 1977, a paroled California rapist was arrested in Salisbury, Maryland by Maryland State Police on the charges of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 9 year old boy. The boy was abducted from his trailer park and buried on a farm ten miles away. The suspect, was one Ellwood Leroy LEUSCHNER, age 45. He was a tall, gaunt, white man who worked as a general laborer at the Campbell Soup Plant in Salisbury.

Leuschner had been first convicted of rape in 1953. He was sent to a California prison in 1960, released in the mid 60's and then convicted and sentenced again for a subsequent forgery and for the rape of a 12 year old girl. In that incident, he dressed in priest's clothing and asked the little girl to help him bring some packages into a church. When he got her in the church, he raped her.

He was paroled in 1974, and some time after that (exact date not known), he vilolated his parole and left California. He claimed to have lived in Salisbury for three years when captured in 1977. The Maryland State Police called California Corrections Office in 1977 to try to confirm this, but California officials stated that he had left California in March 1976 to avoid another rape charge there.

Leuschner was also suspected of the kidnap and murder of two other young boys, in separate incidents in July 1977. Police ruled him out as a suspect in one, but believed that he committed the other and he was charged with that murder as well.

Leuschner drove a blue or green Camaro (model year not known) in 1977, and it was that car which had been seen at the abduction sites, and at the burial sites that connected him with the abductions and murders. Just prior to his last murder, he had attempted another abduction, but the child escaped and gave a description of him and his car.

Many police departments became interested in him after his capture, but when the California Corrections officials said that he had only been out of California since March 1976, he was "ruled out" of many open investigations. He may have been out of California sometime before he was reported missing and the March 1976 date might only be when the California parole violation warrant was issued.

It would be interesting to know where he went and what his time schedule was between his release from prison in California and his eventual capture in Maryland. That might allow investigators to look into other unsolved murders or abductions.

Leuschner's known victims were male and female children ages 9 to 12, his manner of approach and deception, and his way of burying the bodies in remote areas, the fact that he was a serial offender and had transportation - all would make him a prime suspect in some of the unsolved murders and missing child cases of 1974 thru 1977.

Leuschner was a serial rapist and murderer. It would seem that for him to have accellerated to the point of killing two boys in one month, he may well have killed others between 1974 and his November 1977 capture. In a very short time frame of five months from March to July 1975, and within a very close radius, two girls from Maryland (the Lyon Sisters), two boys from New Jersey and three girls from Pennsylvania all disappeared. One incident per month, each in a different police jurisdiction. All of those sites were within driving distance from Salisbury, Maryland.

Leuschner spent the rest of his life in the Maryland Prison system, evidently becoming a writer for a prison newsletter before his death.

Richard
01-29-2005, 12:52 PM
...WUSA TV4 does a weekly special with Joe Krebbs called Cold Case Files....

Correction: TV Channel 4 in Washington, DC is WRC TV4, an NBC affilliate.

Richard
01-29-2005, 01:05 PM
Raymond Rudolph MILESKI, Sr.

Raymond Rudolph Mileski Sr. is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence in the Maryland Prison system. He is linked to the Lyon Sisters, because of claims that he has made on several occasions. Those stories have some varience to them, but basically Ray states that he knows who the abductor/murderer of the girls is.

A story about Montgomery County Police digging in the backyard of the Mileski home at 5816 Suitland Road was in the Washington Post in April 1982, but only briefly. It was only one of many momentary mentions of the Lyon Sisters in news stories over the years. At the time, nothing much came of it. The story told of police digging test holes for about three hours in response to tips from convicts, and that nothing was found. That story makes specific reference to the address and to it being in response to a tip from Maryland Prison Inmates, but it does not mention Mileski's name.

On 19 November 1977, following an ongoing family argument, Raymond Mileski Sr. shot his oldest son with a high power rifle in the basement of their home. When his wife, Dolores, ran down the stairs into the basement room, he shot her too. The bullet passed through her, through a wall and into the mouth of their 7 year old son, Peter, who was running down the stairs behind his mother. Mileski left his wife and older son for dead and transported Peter to Andrews Air Force Base for emergency treatment. Leaving him there, Mileski, drove to the home of a neighbor where his middle son Karl was visiting. He told Karl to stay where he was and then turned himself in to police.

Mileski, while in prison, had evidently told a story to other convicts that he knew who had abducted and killed the Lyon Sisters, these cons repeated the story to MCP investigators. Montgomery County Police dug test holes in the Mileski backyard for three hours and found nothing. End of story? Not quite.

In 2001, an anonymous tip to police named Mileski as having told others prior to his 1978 murder conviction, that he was in some way involved in the Lyon Sisters disappearance. Many elements of this tipster's story were checked out and found to be accurate.

Mileski, contacted in Prison in 2001, admitted in writing that he did in fact know who the abductor of the Lyon Sisters was. He did not name anyone, but gave a general description of the area in which the girls were buried. Mileski made general statements, but clearly wanted to negotiate for a prison transfer before he would speak with investigators.

It is hard to determine if Mileski actually knows anything about the Lyon case, or if he is just making it all up for his own advantage.

The most intriguing thing about a possible PG county connection is that the sketch of "Tape Recorder Man" was recognized by 15 mothers of young girls who had been approached by a man at Iverson Mall and at Marlow Heights Shopping Center on 22 March 1975, three days before the Lyon Sisters disappeared. The Washington Post reported that from one to three PG men were questioned, but that they were not considered suspects at the time. Those sightings place the primary suspect (Tape Recorder Man) right in the close proximity of Mileski, his home, and his alleged associates.

cat-girl
02-01-2005, 05:34 PM
Thanks, J-girl. I agree that it's important to recall the real people involved. It's been a long time and I don't remember a lot about the girls. The '75 Newport yearbook published Sheila's picture with her 7th grade class, and there was also a photo of her table at in the cafeteria, utterly candid and innocent, and in a way haunting. They were regular, nice girls. Not jocks, not cheerleaders, not snotty or mean. I imagine Sheila would have stayed on the quiet side and grown even prettier as she matured.

My memories go beyond Sheila and Katie to that whole place and era... when it seemed, up till 1975 anyway, to be so safe to be a suburban kid. Kids could hang out, go places by ourselves or find places to be alone. Random stuff -- there were a couple big hills next to Plyers Mill Rd where all the neighborhood kids went sledding. On Homewood, we had regular touch football games on summer evenings. Even kids who didn't connect socially knew who their neighbors were. You kind of had to behave well in public because not only your folks but neighbors would keep an eye out. My impression is that the immediate area in Kensington has retained something of that feel.

Richard
02-01-2005, 07:38 PM
Cat-girl, please check your private messages this forum. You have provided some very interesting comments and insight. Thanks!

Richard
02-01-2005, 08:03 PM
Fred Howard COFFEY, Jr. (see also Neely Smith thread this forum)

Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. is currently serving a life term in NC for the 1979 murder of a 10 year NC girl. He may have been involved in the Lyon Sisters abduction, and possibly in the July 1975 abduction/murder of 15 year-old Kathy Lynn Beatty, also of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. was born 03/20/45 in either Virginia or North Carolina. By his and his family's account, he was subjected to severe sexual abuse as a child by his father. An eighth-grade dropout, he attended some college courses later in life.

Coffey enlisted in the Navy at age 17 on May 19, 1962. He served aboard the USS Caloosahatchee AO98 (a fleet oiler), based in Norfolk, VA from 1963 to about 1966. He served his second tour of duty in VietNam, and then a third tour of duty - possibly again in Norfolk. Coffey served a total of 12 years in the US Navy and was honorably discharged as a First Class Petty Officer (E-6) on 12 Sept 1974.

It is quite possible and likely that Coffey had Navy contacts in the Washington/MD/VA area which helped him land a job with Vitro Laboratories.
Employment records from Vitro Laboratories (a Defense Contractor specializing in Navy weapon systems) in Silver Spring MD place him in the area between 1 April and 31 July 1975.

He is considered a suspect in several other murders/abductions, and reportedly confessed to a psychologist as having molested approximately 100 children. He was fond of using gimmicks such as a fishing pole, metal detector, and possibly disguises to lure children.

Coffey's criminal record includes:

- Convicted on two counts of child molestation in Virginia Beach, 1974. Not known whether or not the Navy knew about this, but he was allowed to get out with an Honorable Discharge at the end of his third enlistment - perhaps before the civilian courts had concluded the case.

- Convicted in 1986 and sentenced to 50-years for nine counts of molesting three children in Caldwell County, N.C.

- Coffey was considered a prime suspect in the August, 1986 death of an 8-year-old boy, Travis Shane King, in Bristol, Virginia. King was seen in the company of Coffey near Eastridge shortly before he disappeared, according to Bristol Virginia police detectives. Body found on shores of Boone Lake. He had been strangled.

- Coffey was married between 1978-1982. A friend of Coffey's wife testified that she called police in 1979, two months before Amanda Ray's death, after her 3-year-old described Coffey masturbating in front of her.

- In 1987 was convicted of 1st degree murder for the 1979 Abduction/murder of a 10 year-old girl, Amanda Ray. Amanda was strangled and found near water, in a rural area. Coffey owned a dog (its hairs, found in his van and on Amanda Ray, helped convict him in the Ray killing). Two juries sentenced him to death, but through legal maneuverings, a third jury sentenced him to life in prison with all sentences to run concurrently. Eligible for parole since 1995.

- In 1987, he was investigated by MCP as a possible suspect in the 1975 sexual assault and slaying of 15-year-old Kathy Lynn Beatty of Aspen Hill, which occurred less than a mile from where Coffey once worked. Kathy was found badly beaten and left for dead in a Silver Spring ditch. She lived for two weeks before succumbing to her injuries on 5 August 1975. Coffey quit his job and left town on 31 July 1975. Police had hoped to link Coffey to a set of keys found near the beaten body of Kathy Beatty.

- In 1987, he was considered one of the strongest suspects in the double abduction of the Lyon sisters in Wheaton, MD in March, 1975. Coffey was in the Maryland area around the time of the Lyons' disappearance. Coffey applied for a job at Vitro Corp. in Aspen Hill (then Vitro Laboratories in Silver Spring) as a computer data system employee and was interviewed on 1 April 1975. He worked for them from April 24, 1975, to July 31, 1975. MCP tried to pinpoint when Coffey first came to a Gaithersburg motel where he was known to have stayed. They also tried to get old motor vehicle records to verify reports that he had bought a car in Montgomery about the time of the Lyon girls' disappearance. Montgomery County Police looked at Coffey as a possible suspect in both the Lyon and Beatty cases in 1987, but could not conclusively place him at either scene.

- Police in NC are currently trying to connect Coffey to a 1981 murder of a 5 year-old girl, Neely Smith, from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. Coffey lived in the same apartment complex as the girl. Neely's remains found near water, in a rural area. She had been raped and strangled.

- A 17 October 2004 Charlotte Observer story about the 1981 Neely Smith murder stated: "Amanda Ray's mother told her not to go fishing with the gray-haired stranger". This suggests that Coffey, 34 in 1979, was either prematurely gray, or he was altering his hair color. Eyewitnesses in the 1975 Lyon disappearances described a middle-aged suspect with salt and pepper hair. It would not be unreasonable to assume that his hair could have been salt and pepper gray in '75, and that he may have looked much older to the child witnesses.

A current photo of Coffey can be seen on the North Carolina Prison System's On-Line Inmate Locator Service.

Link:

http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender/offend1?DOCNUM=0081135&SENTENCEINFO=&SHOWPHOTO=yes&numtimesin=1http://

joellegirl
02-02-2005, 02:08 PM
Cat-girl, Thanks again for sharing your recollections. It is really interesting. I know what you mean when you say it is kind of haunting to see the yearbook pictures. Do you remember their brothers? I think I read they had two brothers, one who was one of the last people to see them alive. One article I read (in the Newpaper Archives website) mentioned another sister, but I never read it anywhere else so I wonder if that was a mistake. What did their house look like? Your Kensignton neighborhood in the 1970's sounds alot my own neighborhood growing up. I was 8 in 1975 and I have alot of the same memories of riding bikes around the block, sledding down the nearby big hill, walking with friends to the store a block away to get candy. And my parents were more protective then most, but I still had some freedom . There were lots of kids around .I even remember games like Kick the Can and Red Rover! We all felt safer then, even though bad things did obviously happen then, we just didn't hear about it as much. I can totally see how back then the Lyon's girls

parents felt it was safe for their daughters to walk together to the nearby mall.

I really hope the 30th anniversary puts their story in the media, and not just locally.

Richard, thanks for posting about the men who have been suspected in the girl's disappearance. It is very interesting.

h0db
02-02-2005, 11:41 PM
I was thinking about this case after running across the still-open request for information on the Montgomery County Police, MD website. A google led me to this forum. I remember the disappearance when I was a senior in HS across the river in VA. Thirty years later, I live a block from Plyers Mill Road in Kensington, but I never realized until last night how close we were to where the the Lyons lived back then. One of my daughter's best friends lives right off Drumm Ave, near the the last place the Lyon sisters were seen. But what really threw me was Richard's profile of Coffey-- I had no idea that he was a leading person of interest, not only in this case but the 1975 murder of Kathy Lynn Beatty. When my wife and I first settled in MD after college, one of my wife's best friends was Kathy's younger sister. I was years before we learned of her tragedy. Kathy's sister named her daughter Kathy, and still lives in the area, but not in the county, and we still see her and her family at least once a year.

I hope that the DC-area media covers the 30th anniversay--this one still haunts people with long memories of this area. Drumm Ave. has since been bisected by a housing development; it's some distance from where a remanent of Drumm connects with Plyers Mill. Wheaton Plaza is on an upward curve after hitting bottom a few years ago when Woodies went bankrupt, closely followed by Montgomery ward. Target moved in a couple of years ago, and Macy's is building a massive store there right now.

The demographics have changed considerably, with a lot more hispanic folks than in 1975 (and some great resturaunts around here!). The Vitro building where Coffey worked is still there in Aspen Hill, next to a Home Depot now. The side street that the sisters probably used to cut through from the Wheaton Plaza parking lot is where our community pool is. Despite the changes, people around here still remember the Lyon sisters, and I hope that one day, we'll find out what happened. In part, my wife's and my memories of their dissaperance has always made us very security conscious; we would never let our daughters--both teens now--walk to Wheaton Plaza, and we've had the usual talks about interacting with strangers.

joellegirl
02-03-2005, 01:14 AM
Interesting post h0db. Thanks for sharing what the Kensington area looks like now. I know what you mean about being security conscious. I never even leave my small children alone in the backyard. I've read too many stories on the Doe Network of children vanishing from their own yards, sometimes when the mom just left them alone for a minute or two.While my worrying makes sense since they are still little, I don't know when I will be comfortable to not be watching all of the time. It is hard to picture someday letting them ride their bike around the block, or walk down the street to a friends house. When I said I could see why the Lyon parents thought it was safe to let their preteen daughters walk to the mall, it was because I remember how it was in the 1970's. People generally thought it was a safer world, even though it really wasn't. And the thing about the Lyon sisters is that there were two of them. You always hear how it is safer with two, but not in their case.

Thanks again for posting!

marylandmissing
02-03-2005, 08:46 AM
One of the brothers works for Montgomery County police - think it the robbery section.

Where is this information on the Montgomery County police web site? I'm not aware of that. There is a file on the state police about them, and on the Maryland Center for Missing kids.

Richard
02-03-2005, 11:59 AM
.....Do you remember their brothers? I think I read they had two brothers, one who was one of the last people to see them alive. One article I read (in the Newpaper Archives website) mentioned another sister, but I never read it anywhere else so I wonder if that was a mistake.

John and Mary Lyon had four children in 1975. Jay was their oldest at 14, then Sheila age 12, Katherine age 10, and Joe, age 9. Jay is now a detective with Montgomery County Police.

smile22
02-03-2005, 03:58 PM
hi if anyone is intrested in working with me on the janice pockett case let me know through pm or any missing childrens cases from the 70s

h0db
02-03-2005, 05:42 PM
I looked and can't find it now; I think I was actually looking at the State Police site. I started out trying to find out if the idiot who broke into my house (while my daugher was home) had been charged (he has). Got me thinking about why we worry about our kids, and the Lyon sisters case still comes to mind.

One of the brothers works for Montgomery County police - think it the robbery section.

Where is this information on the Montgomery County police web site? I'm not aware of that. There is a file on the state police about them, and on the Maryland Center for Missing kids.

mere
02-07-2005, 04:56 PM
I just saw today that the sketches of the man in the brown suite have finally been posted. Thanks Richard. I only wish that they have been made public long ago.

Richard
02-07-2005, 06:10 PM
I just saw today that the sketches of the man in the brown suite have finally been posted. Thanks Richard. I only wish that they have been made public long ago.

Actually the sketches of the Tape Recorder Man suspect in the Lyon Sisters case were made public in April 1975, the first being released to TV and newspapers exactly one week after the girls went missing. They just remained buried in the newspaper microfilm archives all these years. The Washington Post has never re-printed either sketch since April 1975, and Montgomery County Police have never re-issued any posters or press releases with those origional sketches.

emma l
02-08-2005, 09:56 AM
Just to let you know (although some people may have seen them). There are now age progressions of the sisters on several websites. The doe links are:
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/64dfmd.html Sheila
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/65dfmd.html Katherine

Theres also a little info on there about a suspected ransom demand in this.............. So unusual 2 girls abducted at the same time.

Fronkensteen
02-09-2005, 04:04 PM
Richard,

Not sure if you saw these...new articles in the Charlotte Observer about Neely Smith and family:

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/news/10712538.htm

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/2005/01/24/news/10712543.htm?1c

wheatongirl
02-10-2005, 09:04 PM
I was in 6th grade when the Lyon sisters disappeared and lived near the Peoples Drug Store and Zayres. Although I didn't know them, their case has haunted me for 30 years. I lived a little too far to walk to Wheaton Plaza, but growing up in Wheaton in the '70s, we could walk anywhere and not worry about something bad happening. I remember very little being published about the girls' disappearance. There were some posters in stores but no or little tv coverage. I haven't lived in Maryland in almost 25 years but many of my childhood friends still live in the area. Since it is difficult to obtain copies of the Washington Post in NJ, please keep me posted as to what the various news media reports as the 30th anniversary approaches. Thank you.



Actually the sketches of the Tape Recorder Man suspect in the Lyon Sisters case were made public in April 1975, the first being released to TV and newspapers exactly one week after the girls went missing. They just remained buried in the newspaper microfilm archives all these years. The Washington Post has never re-printed either sketch since April 1975, and Montgomery County Police have never re-issued any posters or press releases with those origional sketches.

Richard
02-12-2005, 09:15 AM
....I remember very little being published about the girls' disappearance. There were some posters in stores but no or little tv coverage. I haven't lived in Maryland in almost 25 years but many of my childhood friends still live in the area. Since it is difficult to obtain copies of the Washington Post in NJ, please keep me posted as to what the various news media reports as the 30th anniversary approaches. Thank you.

The Washington Post and WMAL (AM 630) radio were probably the most active in reporting on the Lyon Sisters in 1975. The local TV stations also covered their disappearance. Over the years, the Washington Post has published follow up articles and has made reference to the case on occasion. On the 25th anniversary in 2000, the Baltimore Sun had a full page article with photos, but there was nothing in the Washington Post. It will be interesting to see if there is media coverage on the 30th anniversary.

All of the Washington DC TV network news channels have been contacted with a suggestion that they cover the case. So far, WRC TV4 has indicated an interest in doing a story on them, and WUSA TV9 features an article about the girls on their website.

In 1975 this was a major news story, but only in the Washington, DC metropolitan area - which includes Maryland and Northern Virginia. Today, such stories are national news and the cases are featured on national television shows.

The best source of information on cases as old as this one is still newspaper microfilm archives, which can be viewed in many libraries. The Internet, as quick and informative as it can be, just does not have all the detailed information which was written in newspapers before about 1990. The Lyon Sisters' story is an excellent case in point. Most websites which feature their story simply copy or slightly alter the same article that I wrote in 2000, and do little or no research to update or add to it. Unfortunately, there is little that can be added to the basic facts and clues in the case, but there are many, many more details available in newspaper archives about the police efforts to solve it.

wheatongirl
02-12-2005, 04:05 PM
Richard, thank you for providing the most comprehensive information that I've read/heard in 30 years. We used to get the afternoon paper (The Washington Star) and it didn't carry too much information on the case. I've been planning to go to the library and use the archives since The Washington Post makes you pay to review some older newclippings.

The funny thing is, my elementary school never discussed the situation with us students or sent home anything for our parents. Today, any time an unusual situation occurs, parents are contacted immediately. I'm glad things have changed for the better.

Anyway, thanks again for your insight. I look forward to reading additional postings.

mere
02-24-2005, 02:58 PM
I have been looking at the picture of Fred Howard Coffey Jr. on the North Carolina offender site, comparing it to the composite of the tape recorder man. I am so convinced that they are the same person. Silver Spring is only a couple of miles from Wheaton, and Plyer Mill Rd. is just too convenient. I also find it interesting that Coffey's birthday is only five days before the Lyon girls disappeared.

sleuthin4fun
02-25-2005, 09:25 PM
My family lived in Northern Virginia in 1975. I was 10 years old when the Lyon sisters disappeared. I have thought about them many times over the years. I can not imagine the pain this family must have. I don't think that it is something that would ever leave.
Praying daily for the Lyons family!!!

joeskidbeck
02-25-2005, 10:50 PM
I have been looking at the picture of Fred Howard Coffey Jr. on the North Carolina offender site, comparing it to the composite of the tape recorder man. I am so convinced that they are the same person. Silver Spring is only a couple of miles from Wheaton, and Plyer Mill Rd. is just too convenient. I also find it interesting that Coffey's birthday is only five days before the Lyon girls disappeared.
I also noticed the fact that his 30th birthday was only 5 days after the Lyons sister's disappearance. I have an uncle whose hair was totally gray before he was 25, and most children thought he was a much older man. It is quite possible that the children could have been mistaken about tape-recorder man's age. Whether or not he had anything to do with the sister's diappearance, I hope Fred Coffey Jr. will never be released from prison.

Richard
02-26-2005, 09:42 AM
Montgomery County Police stated in 1987 that they believed Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. to be the strongest Person of Interest ever considered as a possible suspect in the Lyon Sisters' case.

It should be noted that his resemblence to the Tape Recorder Man Sketch, however strong, was not considered compelling enough evidence on its own to charge him. At the time, he was being tried in North Carolina for the murder of 10 year-old Amanda Ray, and North Carolina authorities - and Coffey's lawyers objected to MCP even questioning him.

There are discrepancies in the initial description of Tape Recorder Man and Coffey's description. Besides the age (50 vs 30), the height was given as "about 6 feet tall", whereas Coffey stands only 5 feet, 8 or 9 inches tall. It is not known if Coffey's photo - or any other photos - were shown to the witnesses who claimed to have seen Tape Recorder Man.

It should be pointed out that a "side by side" comparison of the Sketch and a photo of Coffey (or any other potential suspect) on the internet could be considered legal grounds to disallow any future witness identification of the suspect in court.

MCP seems to have dropped their interest in Tape Recorder Man about a month into the investigation, making official press statements which indicated that the man "might have been there for legitimate purposes", or "might not have been connected with their disappearance", etc. They never released either sketch after April 1975.

Coffey has since gotten off Death Row following legal appeals by a lawyer who has made his living and reputation in Death Row case appeals. That lawyer (mentioned previously in this thread) would almost certainly object to MCP questioning Fred today - for more or less obvious reasons.

Mention of Coffey's birthday being close to the disappearance date has been noted. In fact, there are two other persons of interest whose 30th birthdays were within a few days of the girls' disappearance as well. It is perhaps nothing more than a coincidence, but a very interesting one all the same.

Coffey was, in 1975, in a major transition point in his life. He had been in the Navy since age 17 (1962). Although he had only gone to school through 8th grade, he had made a promising career in the Navy and had attained the rank of First Class Petty Officer (E-6). Suddenly in 1974, he gets out with an honorable discharge - about the same time that he is charged (and convicted) for the first time of child molestation in Virginia. Coffey came from the Norfolk, VA area to the Metropolitan Washington, DC area to seek work as a Department of Defense Contractor. He applied for a computer programmer position with Vitro Laboratories on 1 April 1975, and began work with them later that month. He resigned suddenly on 31 July 1975, telling his employer that his wife and daughter had been involved in a serious auto accident. He used the same excuse later when leaving another employer. Investigation proved that he had lied both times about the accident.

Back to the subject of "coincidences", April first was only a week after the Lyon Sisters disappeared, and July 31st was only a week after Kathy Beatty was abducted, raped, beatten, and left for dead in a ditch.

tennessee
02-26-2005, 10:32 AM
About the height discrepancy, this is just a long shot idea but wouldn't it have been possible that the tape recorder man could have been using lift shoes? Weren't they popular around this time? Could the benefit have been a couple of inches? That would get the height close to 6'.

Richard
02-26-2005, 10:49 AM
About the height discrepancy, this is just a long shot idea but wouldn't it have been possible that the tape recorder man could have been using lift shoes? Weren't they popular around this time? Could the benefit have been a couple of inches? That would get the height close to 6'.
Good point. Yes, I recall seeing - and wearing - shoes with lift type heels in the mid 1970's. They would probably add an inch or maybe two at the most to the apparent height of a person. The popular style of trousers at the time (even for suits) was bell bottom or flare cut, and often the length covered much of the shoe.

Usually an estimate of height by anyone is done in comparison to one's own height or to others of known height. If the witness was 5 feet tall, and the suspect was taller, then he might easily over estimate the height, but would know that the person was taller than himself. Also, if the boy saw Tape Recorder Man talking to Sheila and Kate, he might have been bending over to speak with them, making height estimation more difficult. Again, he would know that the man was taller than the girls, but by how much?

I have always felt that the sketch of Tape Recorder Man was probably the most important clue available to police investigators at the time. The fact that upon its release, so many other people came forward and claimed to have seen the same person at other shopping centers - and the fact that the sketch was subsequently altered only slightly in the chin area - is a testament to the accuracy of the boy's description and the artist's rendition. It should also be noted that no further changes in description ever resulted following police interviews with those other witnesses.

mom-a-licious
02-26-2005, 02:22 PM
Because of the accuracy of everyone's descriptions of Tape Recorder Man, and because so many people recognized the resulting sketch as the same man who'd been seen at area malls, I've always thought also that the sketch was the biggest clue to TRM's identity, and thereby possibly the identity of the abductor.

Because so many MD/DC area people saw the sketch at the time and were able to at least recognize someone they didn't know and had seen only briefly, I really think that someone else who actually Knew TRM's identity Also saw the sketch and knew exactly who it was.

I've only recently been able to see a copy of the sketch on the DOE network. As far as I know it was Never released later in the national news & on the internet the way sketches and security video clips are released today.

Due to the sketch's accuracy, if it were to be presented in this way now, even after all this time, there could be someone who is living on the other side of the country, 30 years later, who might suddenly say---"Hey, that looks exactly like John Doe, who was working temporarily in our office in Maryland for a few months in 1974". You never know.

Richard
02-28-2005, 05:26 PM
Because of the accuracy of everyone's descriptions of Tape Recorder Man, and because so many people recognized the resulting sketch as the same man who'd been seen at area malls, I've always thought also that the sketch was the biggest clue to TRM's identity, and thereby possibly the identity of the abductor.

Because so many MD/DC area people saw the sketch at the time and were able to at least recognize someone they didn't know and had seen only briefly, I really think that someone else who actually Knew TRM's identity Also saw the sketch and knew exactly who it was.

I've only recently been able to see a copy of the sketch on the DOE network. As far as I know it was Never released later in the national news & on the internet the way sketches and security video clips are released today.

Due to the sketch's accuracy, if it were to be presented in this way now, even after all this time, there could be someone who is living on the other side of the country, 30 years later, who might suddenly say---"Hey, that looks exactly like John Doe, who was working temporarily in our office in Maryland for a few months in 1974". You never know.
You make some excellent points.

The sketches are on the DoeNetwork because I recently had them scanned and sent to the DoeNetwork, not because they were re-issued by the Montgomery County Police. The MCP has a website, but they do not feature the Lyon sisters case on it. The Maryland State Police also have a website, and they do feature the case, but it is simply a copy of what is on other websites and not a new summary written by either the State or County Police.

Because so many people recognized and remembered the strange man with the tape recorder from the sketch, it would seem to confirm strongly the boy's statements and descriptions of of the man.

Further, because the sketch was only shown in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, and because nobody could identify Tape Recorder Man by name - it would tend to indicate that he had only recently arrived in the area - or that he was not known personally by any local people. This could be significant, because for someone to have accellerated to the point of a double abduction, he would certainly have committed other similar crimes before it. No previous similar crimes had been committed, however and this was a very sudden and unique crime for the DC Metropolitan area. It could indicate that a serial pedophile/killer had suddenly appeared on the scene from elsewhere.

This case is receiving a lot of interest, especially as the 30th anniversary of Kate and Sheila's disappearance is approaching. Hopefully some new clues or tips will result.

KensingtonAlumni
03-03-2005, 10:15 AM
Last night I was looking for information about the Lyon's sisters on the Internet and came across this website and read all the posts. Every year about this time I think of them and hope that some new evidence has been recovered. I will be 51 in a few weeks. The girls disappeared the day before my 21st birthday. It was on the news and just hit me like a ton of bricks. I could not understand how something like that could have happened. I thought about them all the time. Especially when going to Wheaton Plaza. And after the report came out about them supposidly being seen in the back of a stationwagon I made a point to look into every stationwagon I passed on the road.

I did not know them or their family. I did know that the father was a local D.J. on the radio.

About a year later my husband and I bought our first house together. It was at 3104 Jennings Road in Kensington ( you can look that up at mapquest ). Jennings goes off to the left from Plyers Mill Road right at the top of the hill. My new neighbor was happy to tell me all about the Lyon's sisters. I did not know that this was where they had disappeared from. It felt so strange.

She told me that the family lived up at the corner of our street by Plyers Mill. So every time I turned into Jennings, I would look at that little white house and say a prayer for the family there. I could not imagine the horror of what they were going through each and every day.

My neighbor ( who was in her 50's then ) told me that the path that the girls ( and lots of kids ) took that day was the one across from her house. There were houses all along the street on both sides, except in that spot. A wooded area. The area does have a lot of trees anyway in all the back yards.

I used to stand and look out her front window when I was visiting and stare out at those woods. I guess you could say that my innocense was taken along with many other people at that time. I had never really heard about children being taken that way and it was quite disturbing to me.

A year later a neighbor on the other side of us said that a man broke in her house and raped her. Not only that but for awhile there he kept coming back. I remember that summer listening for noises in the night and it seemed like every other night the police would arrive to search all the back yards for this culprit. He never was caught as far as I know.

When I became pregnant in 1977, we decided to move away. I did not feel comfortable there raising a child after all these things happened. It was a nice, quiet street - yet something seemed to always be going on. I don't know how it is now. I have not been back to see our old house in a long time. But I do still think of those little blonde headed girls and of the evil person who took them from their family. It effected me in how I raised my kids. I never allowed them to roam around the neighborhood where we lived. They did not understand why I was so over protective - but I didn't care. I just knew I had to be that way. No place is safe.

I wish we had a law that said that whoever has done harm to somebody has to be given a truth serum and asked who they have killed and/or where the bodies are. It seems to me that if this "Coffey" guy is in jail for another child murder...then he should have to be made to talk about anything else he did. Something is not right in our legal system. It is great when people have "rights"....but it always seems to me that the perps have more rights than the victims.

Richard
03-05-2005, 10:14 AM
... I wish we had a law that said that whoever has done harm to somebody has to be given a truth serum and asked who they have killed and/or where the bodies are. It seems to me that if this "Coffey" guy is in jail for another child murder...then he should have to be made to talk about anything else he did. Something is not right in our legal system. It is great when people have "rights"....but it always seems to me that the perps have more rights than the victims.
That would be a great way to clear up many crimes. Unfortunately, such a law would be unconstitutional in the United States. The Fifth Ammendment prohibits the government compelling a person to implicate himself in a crime. This is why the police must always inform a suspect of his rights and get him to sign a paper stating that he has been informed, understands, and chooses to waive those rights before they question him. If the police fail to do this (or do it in an improper manner) anything that is obtained as a result of the suspect's statements is inadmissable in court. Even if the suspect (who has not been properly read his rights) states that he has a room somewhere - if the police search that room and find a load of evidence and that evidence leads to more evidence, it is all considered "Fruits of the Poisoned Tree" and cannot be used against the suspect in a court of law.

This is why "deals" often have to be cut between prosecutors and defense lawyers whereby the murderer gives information on his previous kills in return for a guarantee of a life sentence instead of the death penalty.

But you are right - it often seems that the criminals are the ones with more rights than their victims.

Richard
03-14-2005, 11:44 AM
The 25th of March is Good Friday. It also marks the 30th anniversary of the day that Sheila and Kate Lyon were last seen in Wheaton, Maryland.

Back in 1975, the two sisters had gone to Wheaton Plaza to view Easter displays while on Spring Break from school. They were seen at 1PM talking to a middle aged man with salt and pepper hair, who was wearing a brown suit and holding a briefcase in one hand and a microphone in the other. They were seen again by their own brother at 2PM eating Pizza at the Orange Bowl Restaurant in the Mall. The last sighting of the girls was by a school mate who stated that they were walking in the direction of their home on Drumm Ave, near Devon a few hundred yards west of the Wheaton Plaza parking lot. That was at or shortly after 2:30PM. They have never been seen since.

On Good Friday I will be praying for them.

joellegirl
03-14-2005, 04:06 PM
I will be praying for Sheila and Katherine as well, and their poor family. I will be checking the media (online, since I don't live in the Maryland/Wash DC area)for any mentions of this case. If anyone comes across any articles please post a link here if possible.

mere
03-14-2005, 04:14 PM
I hope and pray that one day this case will be solved. I think about the fate of these girls all the time. Friday, March 25th I will defiantly be praying for Sheila and Katherine.

mere
03-15-2005, 03:36 PM
I know that Coffey is a suspect in this case, but I don't understand why he can not be questioned. I realize that there is a law protecting him, but I still don't understand. Was there any kind of area search for the girls back in 1975. I am unfamiliar with what procedures took place back then?

marylandmissing
03-15-2005, 07:57 PM
All papers in MD know of this anniversary.

Richard
03-18-2005, 08:34 PM
I know that Coffey is a suspect in this case, but I don't understand why he can not be questioned. I realize that there is a law protecting him, but I still don't understand. Was there any kind of area search for the girls back in 1975. I am unfamiliar with what procedures took place back then?
There was a huge area search conducted for several months starting in March 1975. Tracking dogs, National Guard, volunteers, helecopters, etc all joined in. Efforts were detailed in daily news reports in the local newspapers, particularly the Washington Post.

Coffey was never named officially as a "suspect" by Montgomery County Police PR officers. He only became a "person of interest" in the case in 1987, 12 years after the girls disappeared. Being named a "suspect" is a big step in an investigation, and it seems to be reserved for persons for whom much evidence exists. That said, Coffey was indeed considered as a very likely candidate for the honor by MCP in 1987, and more recent revelations about his NC crimes make him an even more likely one.

Coffey is a convicted child molester and convicted child murderer. He has admitted to having molested up to a hundred other children and is thought to have killed other children as well. I do not think that Coffey or his lawyer can prevent Montgomery County Police from talking to him, but he cannot be compelled to implicate himself in any crimes. What is needed is some solid evidence linking him to these other crimes and then charges can be made. Once he is facing charges which carry a possible death sentence, he might be willing to talk.

mere
03-18-2005, 10:01 PM
There was a huge area search conducted for several months starting in March 1975. Tracking dogs, National Guard, volunteers, helecopters, etc all joined in. Efforts were detailed in daily news reports in the local newspapers, particularly the Washington Post.

Coffey was never named officially as a "suspect" by Montgomery County Police PR officers. He only became a "person of interest" in the case in 1987, 12 years after the girls disappeared. Being named a "suspect" is a big step in an investigation, and it seems to be reserved for persons for whom much evidence exists. That said, Coffey was indeed considered as a very likely candidate for the honor by MCP in 1987, and more recent revelations about his NC crimes make him an even more likely one.

Coffey is a convicted child molester and convicted child murderer. He has admitted to having molested up to a hundred other children and is thought to have killed other children as well. I do not think that Coffey or his lawyer can prevent Montgomery County Police from talking to him, but he cannot be compelled to implicate himself in any crimes. What is needed is some solid evidence linking him to these other crimes and then charges can be made. Once he is facing charges which carry a possible death sentence, he might be willing to talk.

That makes great sense. Do you know at what point he admitted molesting all of those childeren?

smile22
03-19-2005, 03:44 PM
question you know how there was a wittness that saw the children in a back of a car gaged and stuff. and how the licences plate was bent, and the witness couldnt get a good look. did they ever check coffeys licences plates do a check on him and see if those combination of letters numbers was registerd to him. that would be a major clue in their disaperance. beacuse then if the combo numbers/letters matched they would have at least some more solid evidence against him. i dont know if anyone thought of this before or if le already looked into it.

Richard
03-20-2005, 08:39 PM
That makes great sense. Do you know at what point he admitted molesting all of those childeren?
Coffey admitted molesting three children and pled guilty to nine related molestation charges in a 1987 North Carolina trial held prior to his being charged in another trial for the murder of Amanda Ray. Between the two trials, Coffey was examined and interviewed by Psychiatrists. According to sworn testimony of those doctors at Coffey's trial for the Amanda Ray murder, he gave a full history of himself and admitted to molesting over 100 children. He did not, however, admit to killing anyone else.

That sequence of events was what later got him out of the death penalty. Coffey's defense lawyer argued that prosecutors' portrayal of Coffey as a pervert and molester was unfair, and later argued that during sentencing phase (after Coffey was convicted of first degree murder) that the prosecutor introduced the prior molestation convictions as articles of Aggrivation to get him the death penalty - AND that this was not lawful, because the molestations had occurred AFTER the murder. There is a link in this thread to the NC supreme court decision which explains the ruling in detail, along with the dissenting opinion.

Richard
03-20-2005, 08:59 PM
question you know how there was a wittness that saw the children in a back of a car gaged and stuff. and how the licences plate was bent, and the witness couldnt get a good look. did they ever check coffeys licences plates do a check on him and see if those combination of letters numbers was registerd to him. that would be a major clue in their disaperance. beacuse then if the combo numbers/letters matched they would have at least some more solid evidence against him. i dont know if anyone thought of this before or if le already looked into it.
Yes, the police spent a great deal of effort in tracking down each and every car with the combination of letters and numbers. They spoke with the owners and ruled all of them out as suspects. HOWEVER, you bring up a very good point in regard to checking the list (which should exist in MCP files) against some of the later persons of interest. I do not know if that has ever been done.

MCP tried in 1987 to learn if Coffey had a Maryland registered car, but there were no records to prove it. Since he had only recently come to Maryland from Virginia, it is doubtful that he would have had a plate issued from the place those plates were from - unless he had borrowed the car, or purchased one from an individual who did not remove the plates.

It is quite possible that either the witness was mistaken completely in his identification of the plate, or that he made the whole story up for whatever reason. Police at first believed the witness and took the tip very seriously, but later - after much searching - they doubted the reliability of it.

smile22
03-21-2005, 07:22 AM
so the wittness was not crediable and that they prolly did it for attention? how sad. did coffeey have a alabi at the time of the girls disaperance.? was there such things as securty cameras back then? if their was did the mall have any outside that might have seen them leaving the mall. and possibly the person ( tape recorder man)

Melissa
03-21-2005, 10:47 AM
Richard,
In one of your posts you mentioned trying to get in touch with The Washington Times to see if they would cover the Lyons' sisters disapperance. Well I am bringing The Washington Times to you. I am a reporter at The Washington Times and we would very much like to cover the story of the girls and it seems like you have a lot of information about the case and I was hoping I could speak to you about it. If you are willing to speak to me please email me at melissabrosk@yahoo.com
Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

Melissa Brosk
The Washington Times
Metro Reporter

marylandmissing
03-21-2005, 06:06 PM
MCP tried in 1987 to learn if Coffey had a Maryland registered car, but there were no records to prove it. Since he had only recently come to Maryland from Virginia, it is doubtful that he would have had a plate issued from the place those plates were from - unless he had borrowed the car, or purchased one from an individual who did not remove the plates.
Wasn't there something about the first thing numbers were used in central maryland location?

marylandmissing
03-21-2005, 06:08 PM
Thank you Melissa.

marylandmissing
03-23-2005, 05:28 AM
The Gazette has run a special on this.
http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265842-1.html

monkalup
03-23-2005, 07:59 AM
<<The 25th of March is Good Friday. It also marks the 30th anniversary of the day that Sheila and Kate Lyon were last seen in Wheaton, Maryland. >>

These poor children. Same day my Jean Marie Stewart disappeared, just five days later.

riley20815
03-24-2005, 11:36 AM
Hi this is my first post. This case has always haunted me. I grew up in the same general area, and although I'm a few years yonger than the Lyon sisters and don't remember the case when it happened, I do remember my mother always being upset whenever I said that I wanted to go to Wheaton Plaza for the movies, ice cream, etc. I remember her telling me that a long time ago, girls were kidnapped from this mall, and I either didn't ask about the specifics or she didn't want to tell me, but it frightened me. My middle school boyfriend and I would usually walk from his house in Kensington to go to the plaza or some other locale in Wheaton, and being young teenagers, of course we didn't really think about safety.

The thing that haunts me about the case is the lack of evidence. I mean, it's hard for me to comprehend that people can just disappear off the face of the earth and no one knows what happened. Of course it happens, but for me it's a hard concept to grasp.

Last night I searched the Washington Post archives and printed out several articles that ran during the time of the search, hoping to find out anything I could. I don't know why...and not having children myself or been in this situation, there's no way I could ever understand the pain and anguish the family has constantly been going through since the disappearance.

It's hard for me to describe the way the anniversary of this case makes me feel. I've just had an empty, sobering, very refelctive mood the past few days. I just hope and pray that some day we will learn what happened so that the poor Lyon family can have some sort of closure.

Sarah

Fronkensteen
03-24-2005, 11:38 AM
Yes, the police spent a great deal of effort in tracking down each and every car with the combination of letters and numbers. They spoke with the owners and ruled all of them out as suspects. HOWEVER, you bring up a very good point in regard to checking the list (which should exist in MCP files) against some of the later persons of interest. I do not know if that has ever been done.

MCP tried in 1987 to learn if Coffey had a Maryland registered car, but there were no records to prove it. Since he had only recently come to Maryland from Virginia, it is doubtful that he would have had a plate issued from the place those plates were from - unless he had borrowed the car, or purchased one from an individual who did not remove the plates.

It is quite possible that either the witness was mistaken completely in his identification of the plate, or that he made the whole story up for whatever reason. Police at first believed the witness and took the tip very seriously, but later - after much searching - they doubted the reliability of it.
Even though this avenue has probably been checked, we should check with Montgomery County police to be sure.

It's possible that the plates were stolen (although bending a plate to that extreme seems a deliberate act of concealment). If the car was stolen, a police report should exist, unless it was destroyed over the years.

A quote from the Evening Capital dated 03/24/1980:

"Although police had the first four digits of the license plate - DMT6 - the search was hampered by the fact that 1975 was the first time in five years new plates had been issued and the numbers had not yet been recorded into the police department's computer. As a result, police were forced to check hundreds of possible number combinations by hand."

If the plate numbers were eventually entered into the computer records, either the witness got it wrong, a mistake was made, crucial information was lost in this process, or information was destroyed/forgotten.

Rick Kretschmer, a license plate collecter who grew up about 15 miles from Wheaton in the 70's, told me via email:

"So the DMT 600 series plate was without question a red-on-white plate issued during the month of March 1975. But since every single passenger car in the entire state had been issued new red-on-white plates during March 1975, there is no way to know from this license plate how long the vehicle had actually been registered in Maryland.

"I was thinking more about the DMT 600 series of plates being issued in multiple cities. It's certainly possible that these were sent out via mail rather than issued over the counter. Plates were issued both ways. I was focused on the over-the-counter method; if this series of plates was issued over the counter at an MVA office I would think that they would have all been issued in one place. However, many people sent their renewal applications by mail to the Glen Burnie HQ and received their plates back in the mail. If the box(es) of DMT 600 series plates were distributed this way, they probably would have been sent to motorists all over the state, not just to Baltimore, Cumberland, and Hagerstown. Perhaps there were plates issued to three different 1968 Ford station wagons in this series of 100 plates, located in these three cities. Maybe the cops just investigated these three vehicles, rather than all 100 vehicles in this series. If the bad guys had stolen the plate, it probably would have been reported. But if they simply switched it with the plate from another vehicle they had access to, no one would be the wiser."

I had contacted the Maryland Motor Vehicle office to inquire about these records, but was told that they would only talk to LE.

I wonder what types of cars were being driven by members of Fred Howard Coffey's family or by his friends/associates during this period?

Fronk

riley20815
03-24-2005, 03:19 PM
Does anyone by any chance have pictures of what the old Wheaton Plaza looked like before it was enclosed, or an aerial? I've searched, but haven't been able to find anything. I'm curious to see the layout of the place, and where the turn-in roads were, things like that. Thanks, I know this is most likely an impossible request.

marylandmissing
03-24-2005, 07:08 PM
NBC 4 will be doing something on this tomorrow.

Richard
03-24-2005, 08:09 PM
Does anyone by any chance have pictures of what the old Wheaton Plaza looked like before it was enclosed, or an aerial? I've searched, but haven't been able to find anything. I'm curious to see the layout of the place, and where the turn-in roads were, things like that. Thanks, I know this is most likely an impossible request.
Not impossible at all! I do have a detailed 1976 map of the area which shows Wheaton Plaza, its entrances, and the residential area to the west and south of it.

Unfortunately, I am out of the country for a short time and the map is back home in Maryland. So I cannot scan or copy it right now.

I looked at that map only a week or two ago. To the best of my recall, there were entrances to the Mall from Viers Mill Road, which borders the mall on the north, and from Georgia Ave (?), which borders the mall on the east. There were a few residential roads that ended at the mall property line to the south and west. I know that the two girls walked to the mall along Drumm Ave, and walked up to the parking lot from the residential area.

It is possible that someone might have been able to actually drive into that parking lot from the residential area, but I am not certain of that. Some of the posters to this thread could answer that question better, because they actually lived there at the time. I can say that there is no access by road to that mall today except from the two main Roads which border it to the north and east - and that this has been the case since at least 2000.

Blue prints and Site Plans of the mall (past and present) would have to be on file in the Montgomery County Administration Building probably in the office which issues building permits. They may also have aerial photos of the area on file.

If you do some searching on-line, there is a site which has aerial photos of the entire U.S. If you can get the correct coordinates, you should be able to obtain current and past aerial photos of Wheaton Plaza as well.

riley20815
03-24-2005, 09:24 PM
Thanks Richard! Those entrances/exits you mentioned sound similar to the way the mall is now. It's definitely changed from the way I remember it from my childhood. I will search further on the internet for maps, because no doubt there were a lot more wooded areas back in '75 than there are now. I'm curious as to whether the Orange Bowl restaurant was close to where the theaters are now (or at least several years ago), down a little service-type road behind a main store (Circuit City, perhaps). I remember there being a very wooded area near there, and it used to make me nervous coming out of the theater at night because of it. Thank you for your help!

I also have downloaded several articles from the Washington Post archives from that time, and if anyone's interested, please let me know. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to copy the text here, so I'll err on the side of caution and not do it.

Such a sad, haunting story, and I've been thinking about it so much lately.

riley20815
03-25-2005, 12:20 AM
Well, it's been exactly 30 years since the day they disappeared. I pray that their parents will soon find some answers, and that foul play didn't come upon these two beautiful girls, but if it did, may they rest in peace. Sheila and Katherine, we will never forget you.

revlis
03-25-2005, 10:27 AM
To Katherine and Sheila......God Bless you and your family on this 30th anniversary...You have been in my prayers for 30 years and will be until we bring you home...

marylandmissing
03-25-2005, 11:43 AM
I have a picture of the area but don't know how to get it to upload.

marylandmissing
03-25-2005, 11:46 AM
Hopefully this works. http://img32.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img32&image=lyonssister4cc.jpg

riley20815
03-25-2005, 11:51 AM
That worked great, thank you! May I ask, was this photo included in this week's Gazette, or is this an older story? I read the two stories they have online this week, and if this photo is included in the print edition, I'm going to ask my parents to save the paper from this week.

DCNationalsFan
03-25-2005, 01:42 PM
Thirty years ago at this moment, my boyfriend and I were taking pictures of the Easter Decorations at Wheaton Plaza. I was a journalism student at the University of Maryland, and the assignment was for my photojournalism class with Dr. Phil Geraci.


The next day, with the news of the disappearance of the Lyon sisters all over the news, I developed the roll of black and white Tri-X film in the school's darkroom and made a contact sheet and some enlargements. Geraci and I examined each picture for signs of two little blonde-haired girls--nothing showed up. I remember vividly the giant white Easter Bunny decoration in the middle of the plaza that afternoon.

Last night, remembering the utter shock of that event, I did a Google search on the girls and happened to see Coffey's mug on this site. His hollow stare is haunting. Now I"m thinking I will search for those old contact sheets/photos...

But where did I put them?

riley20815
03-25-2005, 01:53 PM
That's incredible that you were there at the same time. I keep thinking in terms of "30 years ago this moment" today also, even though I wasn't there. That would be amazing if you could find those contact sheets. I wonder if the Montgomery County police would be able to find anything useful in your photos...

riley20815
03-25-2005, 03:14 PM
I did find a site that has aerial photos of the area from 1970 and other years here : http://gis.montgomerycountymd.gov/gistmpl.asp?url=/content/gis/imgservr.asp

Here is the photo of Wheaton Plaza as it looked back then:
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y62/riley20815/wheaton1970.jpg

Definitely a lot more wooded areas than there are now.

revlis
03-25-2005, 03:30 PM
Has anyone here seen any articles about Sheila and Katherine in todays papers??? I've gone on-line and have found nothing....If some could please provide a link i would really appreciate it.....thanks in advance

Fronkensteen
03-25-2005, 03:48 PM
Thirty years ago at this moment, my boyfriend and I were taking pictures of the Easter Decorations at Wheaton Plaza. I was a journalism student at the University of Maryland, and the assignment was for my photojournalism class with Dr. Phil Geraci.


The next day, with the news of the disappearance of the Lyon sisters all over the news, I developed the roll of black and white Tri-X film in the school's darkroom and made a contact sheet and some enlargements. Geraci and I examined each picture for signs of two little blonde-haired girls--nothing showed up. I remember vividly the giant white Easter Bunny decoration in the middle of the plaza that afternoon.

Last night, remembering the utter shock of that event, I did a Google search on the girls and happened to see Coffey's mug on this site. His hollow stare is haunting. Now I"m thinking I will search for those old contact sheets/photos...

But where did I put them?Please try to find those photos, if possible. If by some miracle you were able to catch a pic of the "Tape Recorder Man", it would be a fantastic breakthrough! I'm trying to locate photos of Coffey from that period. Supposedly, the police have a photo of him from a Vitro Labs employee yearbook in mid 1975, just after the girls vanished. I'm combing through old Washington Post articles to see if there's any photos of him from his late 1980s trials.

I actually took that photo of Coffey from the NC Inmate Search, smoothed out the wrinkles using Photoshop, and compared it to the police sketches of "Tape Recorder Man". To my eyes the similarities are startling!

God bless the Lyon family. I hope someday they will get justice.

marylandmissing
03-25-2005, 04:12 PM
Has anyone here seen any articles about Sheila and Katherine in todays papers??? I've gone on-line and have found nothing....If some could please provide a link i would really appreciate it.....thanks in advance
Nope...Only media expressing interest to the Doe Network was the Washington Times and NBC4.

riley20815
03-25-2005, 04:24 PM
Has anyone here seen any articles about Sheila and Katherine in todays papers??? I've gone on-line and have found nothing....If some could please provide a link i would really appreciate it.....thanks in advance
This is from the Gazette several days ago, but I too have been looking on the local tv and news sites, and have found nothing. :(

http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265841-1.html

Richard
03-25-2005, 04:32 PM
Please try to find those photos, if possible. If by some miracle you were able to catch a pic of the "Tape Recorder Man", it would be a fantastic breakthrough! I'm trying to locate photos of Coffey from that period. Supposedly, the police have a photo of him from a Vitro Labs employee yearbook in mid 1975, just after the girls vanished. I'm combing through old Washington Post articles to see if there's any photos of him from his late 1980s trials.....
I also strongly urge you to look for those old negatives and contact sheets. You looked for two little girls, at the time - but we know that they were there that day. It is also known that the Tape Recorder Man was there, but there were no photos of him at the time - only an eyewitness sketch. If anyone in any of those photos could be recognized as that man, it would be very important physical evidence in a case which has been unclosed and unsolved for 30 years. There may have been more than one person involved in their abduction, and perhaps this evidence could tie past persons of interest conclusively to that place and time.

revlis
03-25-2005, 04:58 PM
Pdunbar...thank you for sharing your story regarding your family. I'm so sorry for your loss and as i've stated before I have prayed and thought of them for 30 years...I was also ten when this happened and this case completely changed the way I viewed the world around me....With Gods help maybe we will someday know what happened...

Also, i called channel 4 here in dc and they will be airing a story about the sisters on the 6 o'clock news.....

marylandmissing
03-25-2005, 07:04 PM
Nope...Only media expressing interest to the Doe Network was the Washington Times and NBC4.
NBC called me to do an interview but I couldn't make it - I just saw the piece - was really good. Even had some live footage of Coffey.

riley20815
03-25-2005, 07:36 PM
Pdunbar, your family will always be in my prayers, and I am so sorry for what you all have been going through. We won't give up hope, and we will certainly never forget Sheila and Katherine.


MarylandMissing, I wish I could have seen the piece, but I'm hoping they will post it on their site. I've been checking nbc4.com all day, but nothing so far. I'm glad they chose to air the story. I have to say I'm disappointed in all the other local media.

joellegirl
03-25-2005, 07:38 PM
Pdunbar,Thanks so much for posting and sharing your memories. My thought and prayers go out to your entire family. Ever since I first heard about Sheila and Kate I just couldn't forget them. If you are up to it, share any other memories you may have. we all love to hear what those beautiful girls were like. As a mom myself I can't imagine the the horror their parents, brothers and all of you have been through. Like another poster said, today I keep thinking the "30 years ago at this moment.." as well. God Bless Sheila and Kate where ever they are, and I hope they can come home soon.

mere
03-28-2005, 09:50 AM
DCNATIONALSFAN

I hope that you will try your best to locate that role film. This could be the only chance to turn a person of interest into a suspect.

h0db
03-30-2005, 10:36 PM
I've lived in the Kensington-Wheaton area since 1985, and I think the layout was different from your recollection. The Mall is bordered on the N-NW by University Blvd, and on the NE by Viers Mill. The shopping center annex in the southern section of the parking lot--where circuit city and the cineplex didn't exit until 1990 or so, and the Hecht's extension and lower level didn't exit then either. The mall was enclosed at one point, but I think it was right around the time of the dissapearance, or shortly thereafter. Anchor department stores were Montgomery Wards, Woodies, and Hechts. There is a residential street, Faulkner Pl, that dead-ends at the current mall axis road which would connect it to Drumm Ave, which pedestrians use even today. Whoever named the streets to the west of the mall had a real Southern literature thing-- Faulkner, Stella, Decauter, etc.

don't know if this link will work...

http://maps.yahoo.com/maps_result?ed=pTQqZup_0TrN94k_xX1kWlljfhVdbeM18WM .Iw--&csz=silver+spring+MD&country=us&new=1&name=&qty=

Richard
03-31-2005, 09:19 PM
I've lived in the Kensington-Wheaton area since 1985, and I think the layout was different from your recollection. The Mall is bordered on the N-NW by University Blvd, and on the NE by Viers Mill. The shopping center annex in the southern section of the parking lot--where circuit city and the cineplex didn't exit until 1990 or so, and the Hecht's extension and lower level didn't exit then either. The mall was enclosed at one point, but I think it was right around the time of the dissapearance, or shortly thereafter. Anchor department stores were Montgomery Wards, Woodies, and Hechts. There is a residential street, Faulkner Pl, that dead-ends at the current mall axis road which would connect it to Drumm Ave, which pedestrians use even today. Whoever named the streets to the west of the mall had a real Southern literature thing-- Faulkner, Stella, Decauter, etc.........
You are correct in stating that the northern and eastern border roads are Viers Mill Road and University Blvd. I had mistakenly thought that it was Georgia, but that road is a bit further east. I did not have my maps with me when I posted. The Mall borders, however, are almost identical to what they were in 1975. The mall buildings and parking lot have changed considerably since that time as you point out. Even the name of the mall has changed recently.

What seems to have changed also, is that in 1975, Wheaton Plaza was more accessable via back residential streets and walking paths through the woods to the west. It was likely that Sheila and Kate walked to the mall via Drumm Ave, which is (and was in 1975) blocked off in the center and only open all the way from Plyers Mill Road toward the Mall by walking. A car can drive only a short way on it from Plyers Mill Road, and only a short way down it from Viers Mill road.

If the girls had in fact made it as far as Devon and Drumm, then an abductor would have had to have driven from the mall parking lot out the Viers Mill Road exit, turned left accross traffic down Drumm and either waited for them, or caught up with them before they reached the place where the road was blocked off with steel pipes. No body ever claimed to have seen or heard the girls being abducted.

The boy who reported seeing the girls headed home on Drumm near Devon at around 2:30PM did not make his statement to the police until two weeks after the girls disappeared. His reasoning for not coming forward earlier was that he had heard a report that the girls had been seen at the mall around 7PM and that he did not feel that his information was important. But that when Police reported that they doubted the 7PM reported sighting, he felt that his information might be important. Police accepted the information as accurate, which would have meant that an abduction would have taken place in a limited time and place - in an area surrounded by houses and potential witnesses. A more likely scenario - assuming a careful and calculating abductor - would have been for the girls to have been coaxed into a vehicle in the parking lot, away from witnesses.

The link provided by marylandmissing to a map shows only a part of the back roads, but it is likely the path that the girls took to the mall and their intended path of return to home.

It would be interesting to know where the Orange Bowl Restaurant was in relation to the point where the girls entered or exited the parking lot. Could the Tape Recorder Man have watched where they came from and where they were going?

I first saw the Wheaton Plaza shopping mall about 1984, and I recall that at the time, there were some buildings which were only accessible from outside. When I visited the mall about 2000, I found it to be a completely enclosed complex.

Fronkensteen
04-20-2005, 08:58 AM
Thirty years ago at this moment, my boyfriend and I were taking pictures of the Easter Decorations at Wheaton Plaza. I was a journalism student at the University of Maryland, and the assignment was for my photojournalism class with Dr. Phil Geraci.


The next day, with the news of the disappearance of the Lyon sisters all over the news, I developed the roll of black and white Tri-X film in the school's darkroom and made a contact sheet and some enlargements. Geraci and I examined each picture for signs of two little blonde-haired girls--nothing showed up. I remember vividly the giant white Easter Bunny decoration in the middle of the plaza that afternoon.

Last night, remembering the utter shock of that event, I did a Google search on the girls and happened to see Coffey's mug on this site. His hollow stare is haunting. Now I"m thinking I will search for those old contact sheets/photos...

But where did I put them?
DCNationalsFan,

Were you ever able to locate those photos you took at Wheaton Plaza that day the sisters vanished?

Thanks.

Richard
04-20-2005, 05:52 PM
DCNationalsFan,

Were you ever able to locate those photos you took at Wheaton Plaza that day the sisters vanished?

Thanks.
I too, have been wondering if you were able to find those negatives and proof sheets. There are a number of "persons of interest" who have been identified over the years as possibly being at Wheaton Plaza on that fateful day, but Montgomery County Police could never positively place any of them there with solid evidence. Your photos might be the evidence needed. The best evidence was provided by a 14 year old boy who described a man from memory - the "Tape Recorder Man" mentioned earlier. Other individuals have been mentioned by various witnesses over the years.

Richard
04-27-2005, 05:51 PM
Innocence lost

Sheila and Katherine Lyon left their Kensington home on a spring afternoon in 1975 to eat pizza and window-shop at a nearby mall.As many kids did in that simpler time, the sisters walked the half-mile to Wheaton Plaza shopping center. Their mother just expected them to be home in time for dinner.Instead, the girls vanished without a trace. And with them went a way of life.The disappearance of the Lyon sisters on March 25, 1975, just days before their 13th and 11th birthdays, changed their neighborhood
and changed Montgomery County. Theirs had been an idyllic suburban community, where families knew and looked out for each other, and the thick trees lining old streets lent an air of solid security.That illusion of safety was shattered by the terrible events of 30 years ago....

Link:
http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265841-1.html

Richard
04-27-2005, 05:55 PM
Intense search only left police, community frustrated

While investigators had few clues in the disappearance of Sheila and Katherine Lyon, one thing was almost certain -- the girls had not run away from home.Police did not keep statistics on missing children in 1975. But according to Carla Proudfoot, director of the Maryland Center for Missing Children, Sheila and Katherine, at 12 and 10, were younger than most kids who leave home by choice."Most runaways are between 14 and 17 years old," she said, adding that those ages haven't changed since 1986, when the state agency first began keeping the data.The widespread search began in the early hours of March 26, 1975. Retired Sgt. Harry Geehreng, a plainclothes detective in the department's Juvenile Aid Unit at the time, remembers tearing up his leisure suit while searching through briars in the woods near the girls' Kensington neighborhood."You really cannot fathom the emotion involved in it, the intensity -- and the frustration," Geehreng said.Over the first few days, searchers combed back yards and the woods the girls would have had to walk through to get to the mall. Police dredged the pond near the Kensington Gardens Nursing Home on McComas Avenue. Officers wearing oxygen masks searched storm drains and sewers. Police looked in people's homes."They came around to all the neighbors," remembered Peg Dunne, who lives on Drumm Avenue near where the girls disappeared. "They asked if they could search basements, garages -- it was strictly volunteer."Douglas DeLawter, who has lived in Kensington for 38 years, remembers the intensity of the police search."They came in the house, looked in closets and boxes and under stairs," he said. "The detectives interviewed everyone."If the search appeared desperate early on in the investigation, statistics validated the police's concern."For one thing, it's unusual that two girls, especially sisters, would go missing at the same time," said Ron Jones, a case manager at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who was a Metropolitan Police detective before working at the nonprofit. "It's happened before, but it's unusual. And at that time, we weren't hearing about too many child abductions. It was odd that they would just disappear off the face of the earth."In talking to patrons and employees who had been at Wheaton Plaza that day, police learned that several people had seen the girls talking to a man holding a microphone attached to a tape recorder inside a briefcase. Witnesses said he was trying to record women's voices for an answering machine. When news of the man with the tape recorder broke, police were inundated with calls from other girls and women who had been approached by a similar man."That really set it off," Geehreng said. "By Sunday we were getting so many phone calls we had to call more people in."The man was described as approximately 6 feet tall and 50 years old, wearing a brown suit and carrying a brown briefcase. Police released two composite sketches of the man based on witness descriptions, including an account by two salesgirls and a customer who said they saw the man on March 22 -- three days before Sheila and Katherine disappeared -- at Iverson Mall and Marlow Heights in Prince George's County....

Link:
http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265842-1.html

curious1
05-04-2005, 10:42 AM
Not sure is this has been addressed, but one of the main suspects, Fred Coffey, is due for a parole hearing this year.

According to this webpage: http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender/offend1?DOCNUM=0081135

Next Custody Review Date: 08/01/2005

I am a life time North Carolina resident and one who now lives in Mecklenburg Co where the crime he is in prison for took place, I would like to do what I can to make sure this guy NEVER gets out. Any tips or advice?

mere
05-04-2005, 12:24 PM
This link will give you the adress and an example of a letter.

http://www.charmeck.nc.us/Departments/Police/Crime+Info/Citizen+Watch+Programs/Citizens+Parole+Advisory+Committee/Citizens+Parole+Advisory+Committee.htm

curious1
05-04-2005, 01:28 PM
Thanks for the link! :)

Richard
05-05-2005, 10:33 AM
Sheila and Katherine LYON disappeared on 25 March 1975 from Kensington/Wheaton, Maryland. Just to the north in the adjacent state of Pennsylvania, three other young girls went missing under circumstances which led police to believe that they were abducted by a stranger (non-family member). One girl abducted each month through July. All are still missing. Could any of these cases be connected?

May 17, 1975 - Wendy Eaton age 15. Missing from Media, PA.
June 24, 1975 - Edna Christine Thorne age 15. Missing from Philadelphia, PA
July 8, 1975 - Tracy Anne King age 14. Missing from Littlestown, PA

On April 7, 1975, two young boys were abducted together in New Jersey - just east of Philadelphia, PA. Stephen Eugene Anderson, and David Williams are also still missing.

-----------------------------------------------
WENDY EATON
Date Of Birth: May 26, 1959
Date Missing: May 17, 1975
Age at Time of Disappearance: 15 years old
Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 4'10; 90 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown hair; brown eyes.
Medical Conditions: Eaton is deaf in one ear.
Dentals: She wore orthodontic braces.
Marks, Scars: She wears eyeglasses and has pierced ears.
Missing from Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Circumstances of Disappearance
Eaton was last seen walking three blocks from her family's PA home on May 17, 1975 at approximately 3:05 PM. She was headed to the downtown area of Media, PA.
If you have any information related to Eaton's case, please contact:
Pennsylvania State Police
215-459-4150
NCIC Number: M-361834859
Link:
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/90dfpa.html

-------------------------
EDNA CHRISTINE THORNE
DOB: Feb 25, 1960
Missing: Jun 24, 1975
Age at time: 15
Sex: Female
Race: White
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Height: 5'1" (155 cm)
Weight: 105 lbs (48 kg)
Missing From: PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States
Non-Family Abduction

Circumstances of Disappearance
Edna was last seen at a relative's residence on June 24, 1975.

Philadelphia Police Department (Pennsylvania) - 1-215-685-1180
Link
http://www.missingkids.com/missingk...earchLang=en_US


-----------------------------
TRACY ANNE KING
DOB: Oct 11, 1960
Missing: Jul 8, 1975
Age at time: 14
Sex: Female
Race: White
Hair: Red
Eyes: Blue
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
Weight: 110 lbs (50 kg)
She has a scar on her right ankle and pockmarks on her temple.
Non-Family Abduction
Missing From: LITTLESTOWN, PA, United States

Circumstances of Disappearance
King was last seen leaving Hoffman Homes, a children's home in Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania on July 8, 1975.
King was having problems at the time and was living at the home as a result. She had run away from the facility twice before, but King returned shortly thereafter both times. She has never been heard from again.
King apparently held no animosity towards her family and wrote them often from her stay in the home. Her letters are described as being those of a normal teenager at the time. King usually apologized for not writing more frequently. Her loved ones have searched for her since her disappearance in 1975. King's family resided in Perry County, Pennsylvania in 1975.

Pennsylvania State Police (Pennsylvania) - Missing Persons Unit 1-717-783-5524

Link
http://www.missingkids.com/missingk...earchLang=en_US

mere
05-05-2005, 10:56 AM
My gut says that they are. I have felt for a while now that the same person committed all of these crimes, and he/she may have never been caught. In 1975 they pretty much said that all of these girls were presumed runaways. The person responsible was not even being looked for so it made it very easy for he/she to continue

smile22
05-05-2005, 01:07 PM
the first girl that richard has mention and has the pic from the link. and the bio on the girl from media i belive.. she bares a striking resemblance to i don't know her name. but she plays michelle on guilding light its kind errie but sometimes 2 people can look alike.

mere
05-16-2005, 02:55 PM
It seems to me that in the mid 1970's that children/teens could have been easily lured into a strangers car. When I was growing up in the early 80s talking to strangers was pounded into my head as dangerous. I even had a board game called Don't Talk to Strangers.

joellegirl
05-16-2005, 04:21 PM
I was a child in the 1970s--8 years old in 1975(year the Lyons girls vansihed) and I remember my parents warning me about strangers . Not to get too close to the car, take any candy, not to believe stories about "help me look for my puppy "etc...but we did feel it was a safer world then, especially in our smalltown subdivision. My parents were more protective than most, but I still had more freedom than I let my kids have today. Unless it happened in your town or the next big city you didn't hear about abductions like you do now. There was no Fox News, internet etc. The Lyon's girls story may have been in the Chicago Tribune (next big city to me) but it would have most likely been a little blurb-not front page news.

Did any one see the Fox News special last night about keeping your kids safe? I was hoping they would mention that abduction is nothing new (just read the Charley Project and Doe Network and Webslueths) it is just in the news more. It kind of bugs me when they act like this is something that didn't happen before. It is great that it gets more attention now, that is a very good thing.

Once case I post I have been following for years and have posted about-15 year old Evelyn Hartley-actually did get lots of media attention when she vanished from LaCrosse Wi in 1953 while on a babysitting job. There was an major extenisve search for her-it is still an open case and part of La Crosse legend now.People are still trying to solve this sad case. The case actually made newspapers across the country. That was quite rare for 1953-when not everyone even had a TV yet. Yet, she is still missing, no trace what so ever, but it does show that at least some cases did get as much coverage that was possible at the time, and still does. I still wish a TV show would be created to focus on all these very old cases. Doesn't matter how old, just so there is a chance to solve them with today's technology.

About the Lyon's girls, I was thinking that I believe I have never read about what clothes they were wearing that day. I know it wouldn't be much help now, unless fragments of clothes were found. But I was just curious, seeing how when one reads about a missing person, a clothing description is usually included.


But yes, in general it felt like a safer world in the 1970's, even if it really wasn't.

Fronkensteen
05-16-2005, 04:51 PM
It seems to me that in the mid 1970's that children/teens could have been easily lured into a strangers car. When I was growing up in the early 80s talking to strangers was pounded into my head as dangerous. I even had a board game called Don't Talk to Strangers.
It certainly was a much more innocent time, or perhaps a more naive time, compared with today's.

If we agree that the "Tape Recorder Man" is the probable abductor of the girls, I think it's important to note that this individual had been observed at other shopping centers in the area, notably Iverson Mall and Marlow Heights Shopping Center, in the days before the Lyon disappearances. It's also significant that he was seen at Wheaton Plaza approaching young girls with his tape recorder on March 24, the day before the sisters vanished!

This guy had been busy. He wasn't just trolling; he was honing his approach, working out the rough spots. I think he was a careful planner, and I can picture him scouting out backroads and escape routes well in advance of the actual abduction. Remember, he was there at Wheaton Plaza the day before.

In the days immediately following, police received "at least 16" phone calls from parents whose daughters had been approached by this man. A 16 year old salesgirl at Marlow Heights described his approach as "staring at her", then saying "Gee, you have a very lovely voice." He asked her to read something typed on a white card into the microphone, but she refused.

To me, it has always been significant that this man vanished along with the sisters. After several days being seen by many witnesses in various locations, he was gone, never to be seen again. Coincidence?

Fronkensteen
05-16-2005, 04:56 PM
About the Lyon's girls, I was thinking that I believe I have never read about what clothes they were wearing that day. I know it wouldn't be much help now, unless fragments of clothes were found. But I was just curious, seeing how when one reads about a missing person, a clothing description is usually included. You're right; I never saw any description of the clothes they were wearing.

This weekend, I found an old Washington Post article that described Katherine as wearing "blue jeans and a red jacket" and Sheila dressed in "a dark blue shirt and wheat-colored corduroys".

Hope this helps.

joellegirl
05-16-2005, 11:08 PM
You're right; I never saw any description of the clothes they were wearing.

This weekend, I found an old Washington Post article that described Katherine as wearing "blue jeans and a red jacket" and Sheila dressed in "a dark blue shirt and wheat-colored corduroys".

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info. I did a search once to find to what the weather was like the day they disappeared. I believe it was mostly sunny and in the lower 60's. A nice day to walk to the mall, but how I wish they had done something else that day.As you can tell, I am a details person, the more details the better. Being 8 yrs old in 1975 I have some pretty clear memories of that time, and I think things like, "when I was doing this or that was when they disappeared.." I do remember that spring and how the world was then.

Sorry for my typos in my earlier post-I see a few sentences that didn't make alot of sense!

smile22
05-16-2005, 11:38 PM
im curius to see if the poster who had the pics had found them that might be our only hope to solving this case.

mere
05-17-2005, 09:38 AM
.


I still wish a TV show would be created to focus on all these very old cases. Doesn't matter how old, just so there is a chance to solve them with today's technology.
I agree. It seems that all of the shows that are on only focus on solved cases. It does not make much sense to me.

Fronkensteen
05-17-2005, 09:47 AM
I agree. It seems that all of the shows that are on only focus on solved cases. It does not make much sense to me.They don't do it often, but occasionally Bill Kurtis's show Cold Case Files (on A&E cable network) features cases that are unsolved.

There is definitely a need for a show to do what Unsolved Mysteries used to do (but with much less schmaltz!). I hope someone like Kurtis will do it one day.

mere
05-17-2005, 09:49 AM
There would be an endless amount of stories to feature.

Fronkensteen
05-23-2005, 09:45 AM
About the Lyon's girls, I was thinking that I believe I have never read about what clothes they were wearing that day. I know it wouldn't be much help now, unless fragments of clothes were found. But I was just curious, seeing how when one reads about a missing person, a clothing description is usually included.Just FYI...a description of the clothes Sheila and Katherine were wearing that day is now posted on the Doe Network...thanks Richard!!

http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/64dfmd.html
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/65dfmd.html

mere
05-23-2005, 09:49 AM
Thanks again Richard

Fronkensteen
05-23-2005, 11:29 PM
Raymond Rudolph MILESKI, Sr.

Raymond Rudolph Mileski Sr. is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence in the Maryland Prison system. He is linked to the Lyon Sisters, because of claims that he has made on several occasions. Those stories have some varience to them, but basically Ray states that he knows who the abductor/murderer of the girls is.

A story about Montgomery County Police digging in the backyard of the Mileski home at 5816 Suitland Road was in the Washington Post in April 1982, but only briefly. It was only one of many momentary mentions of the Lyon Sisters in news stories over the years. At the time, nothing much came of it. The story told of police digging test holes for about three hours in response to tips from convicts, and that nothing was found. That story makes specific reference to the address and to it being in response to a tip from Maryland Prison Inmates, but it does not mention Mileski's name.

On 19 November 1977, following an ongoing family argument, Raymond Mileski Sr. shot his oldest son with a high power rifle in the basement of their home. When his wife, Dolores, ran down the stairs into the basement room, he shot her too. The bullet passed through her, through a wall and into the mouth of their 7 year old son, Peter, who was running down the stairs behind his mother. Mileski left his wife and older son for dead and transported Peter to Andrews Air Force Base for emergency treatment. Leaving him there, Mileski, drove to the home of a neighbor where his middle son Karl was visiting. He told Karl to stay where he was and then turned himself in to police.

Mileski, while in prison, had evidently told a story to other convicts that he knew who had abducted and killed the Lyon Sisters, these cons repeated the story to MCP investigators. Montgomery County Police dug test holes in the Mileski backyard for three hours and found nothing. End of story? Not quite.

In 2001, an anonymous tip to police named Mileski as having told others prior to his 1978 murder conviction, that he was in some way involved in the Lyon Sisters disappearance. Many elements of this tipster's story were checked out and found to be accurate.

Mileski, contacted in Prison in 2001, admitted in writing that he did in fact know who the abductor of the Lyon Sisters was. He did not name anyone, but gave a general description of the area in which the girls were buried. Mileski made general statements, but clearly wanted to negotiate for a prison transfer before he would speak with investigators.

It is hard to determine if Mileski actually knows anything about the Lyon case, or if he is just making it all up for his own advantage.

The most intriguing thing about a possible PG county connection is that the sketch of "Tape Recorder Man" was recognized by 15 mothers of young girls who had been approached by a man at Iverson Mall and at Marlow Heights Shopping Center on 22 March 1975, three days before the Lyon Sisters disappeared. The Washington Post reported that from one to three PG men were questioned, but that they were not considered suspects at the time. Those sightings place the primary suspect (Tape Recorder Man) right in the close proximity of Mileski, his home, and his alleged associates.Richard, I found out today that Mileski died in prison sometime in the last month or so...unless he had come clean and disclosed what he really knew about the case to LE before his demise, whatever knowledge he had went with him.

smile22
05-24-2005, 12:37 PM
what if he told prison inmates before he died about the lyon sisters its worth a shot looking into

Richard
05-24-2005, 12:37 PM
Richard, I found out today that Mileski died in prison sometime in the last month or so...unless he had come clean and disclosed what he really knew about the case to LE before his demise, whatever knowledge he had went with him.
Mileski was incarcerated in a Baltimore, Maryland prison in 2001 when he was requesting a transfer prior to speaking with LE. I know that his last residence was Western Correctional Facility in Cumberland, MD. Whether his transfer was in association with cooperation with investigators, or simply a routine transfer, I do not know. Mileski had served honorably in the Marine Corps in the 1950's. One can only hope that he told investigators what he knew about the Lyon Sisters before his demise.

joellegirl
05-24-2005, 07:37 PM
Just FYI...a description of the clothes Sheila and Katherine were wearing that day is now posted on the Doe Network...thanks Richard!!

http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/64dfmd.html
http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/65dfmd.html

Glad to see this! The more info out there the better.

Skipper
06-09-2005, 11:52 PM
It was usually warm the day the Lyon sisters disappeared. I don't believe the description of the clothes they were wearing is correct.

Fronkensteen
06-10-2005, 11:56 AM
It was usually warm the day the Lyon sisters disappeared. I don't believe the description of the clothes they were wearing is correct.I found the description of the clothes they were wearing that day in an old Washington Post article. I have a copy of that article, if anyone wants to see it.

Skipper
06-11-2005, 04:58 PM
What is the date of the article describing the clothing they were wearing?

Skipper
06-11-2005, 08:23 PM
[QUOTE=Richard]Sheila and Katherine LYON disappeared on 25 March 1975 from Kensington/Wheaton, Maryland. Just to the north in the adjacent state of Pennsylvania, three other young girls went missing under circumstances which led police to believe that they were abducted by a stranger (non-family member). One girl abducted each month through July. All are still missing. Could any of these cases be connected?

May 17, 1975 - Wendy Eaton age 15. Missing from Media, PA.
June 24, 1975 - Edna Christine Thorne age 15. Missing from Philadelphia, PA
July 8, 1975 - Tracy Anne King age 14. Missing from Littlestown, PA

The Lyons disappearance is probably linked to Wendy and to one girl in New Jersey.

Richard
06-11-2005, 11:13 PM
It was usually warm the day the Lyon sisters disappeared. I don't believe the description of the clothes they were wearing is correct.
An article in the Washington Post of 29 March 1975 (Page B2) indicated that Police had mailed out 5,000 posters with the girls pictures and descriptions on them to various police departments, restaurants, hotels, and banks throughout Maryland, Delaware, The District of Colombia, and Virginia. This was a standard way of notifying people of missing persons back in 1975. The posters were also sent to all local media for coverage. It is possible that those posters contained a description of the clothing that the girls were wearing.

The 29 March Post article mentioned that the girls did not take any "extra clothing or money" when they left home.

On 31 March 1975, the Post (Page C-3) described the clothing that the girls were wearing the day they were last seen:

"Sheila, wearing a dark blue shirt and wheat-colored corduroys, and Katherine, in blue jeans and a red jacket, had less than four dollars between them and no extra clothing, their mother said. For that reason, police minimized the likelihood that the girls ran away, also noting that they are younger than most runaways and had had no quarrel at home, as is usually the case with runaways."

The girls and the search for them and their abductor were in the news daily for months. On 25 May 1975, the Washington Post printed a story about a large scale area search by Maryland National Guard troops. During that search, some clothing was found, but John Lyon examined it at the scene and declared it to NOT be from his girls. The article stated:

"Lyon explained that his daughters were wearing Wrangler blue jeans that had front zippers. The pants discovered in the rear of the house were wide-legged with buttons up the front like sailors' pants."

Skipper
06-12-2005, 03:42 AM
"Sheila, wearing a dark blue shirt and wheat-colored corduroys, and Katherine, in blue jeans and a red jacket"

An article written in the Montgomery Journal on March 24, 2000 stated that the girls were last seen in summer clothes.

There appears to be some inconsistencies here. The temperature that day was in the 70's. Also, what kind of shoes were they wearing?

Richard
06-12-2005, 11:20 PM
"Sheila, wearing a dark blue shirt and wheat-colored corduroys, and Katherine, in blue jeans and a red jacket"

An article written in the Montgomery Journal on March 24, 2000 stated that the girls were last seen in summer clothes.

There appears to be some inconsistencies here. The temperature that day was in the 70's. Also, what kind of shoes were they wearing?
It was likely quite a bit cooler in the morning, and the girls probably did not check the weather report before going to the mall. The descriptions of the clothing came from the girls' parents - John and Mary Lyon. Mary saw her daughters leaving the house and told them to be back by 4PM.

The statement about "summer clothes" by the Journal in 2000 was probably an interpretation by the writer of that article, rather than a definitive description. Perhaps meant to imply that the girls were dressed suitably for the warm day, and not planning to stay out past dark, when the temperature would drop. I would tend to believe the more detailed description put out in 1975 as most accurate.

I have never seen a description of the girls' shoes. The posters sent out by police might have included that information, but I do not know for sure. Maybe police had that information, but kept it back as a way of determining whether or not a possible suspect was telling the truth.

Skipper
06-13-2005, 07:32 PM
You are right. They probably didn't check the weather report. Kids usually walk outside to check the weather out.

joellegirl
06-13-2005, 11:47 PM
You are right. They probably didn't check the weather report. Kids usually walk outside to check the weather out.

Another thought I had is, with it being March, they were probably still in the "winter mode" state of mind and when getting dressed that morning didn't think to wear summer clothes. Living in Illinois, I know it takes a few nice warm days for me to get out of that winter mode(and I don't like winter---love spring and summer) and start digging out my spring and summer clothes.

I bet those girls were in such good moods that day. It was spring break, the weather was really nice, and they were going shopping......

Richard
06-20-2005, 09:44 AM
From The Gazette:

Innocence lost
by Charlotte Tucker and Chris Williams
Staff Writers Mar. 23, 2005

Frances Kuester, a neighbor of the Lyon family on Plyers Mill Road, gave birth to her daughter Judy a week before Sheila and Katherine Lyon vanished. Kate, as Kuester called Katherine, had planned to visit Judy on March 25, 1975.
Sheila and Katherine Lyon left their Kensington home on a spring afternoon in 1975 to eat pizza and window-shop at a nearby mall.As many kids did in that simpler time, the sisters walked the half-mile to Wheaton Plaza shopping center. Their mother just expected them to be home in time for dinner.Instead, the girls vanished without a trace. And with them went a way of life.The disappearance of the Lyon sisters on March 25, 1975, just days before their 13th and 11th birthdays, changed their neighborhood and changed Montgomery County.

Theirs had been an idyllic suburban community, where families knew and looked out for each other, and the thick trees lining old streets lent an air of solid security.That illusion of safety was shattered by the terrible events of 30 years ago.In the days and weeks after the Lyon sisters disappeared, parents began to realize that the suburbs could be touched by tragedy just as easily as inner-city communities.

"This was a quiet place," said Kensington Mayor Lynn Raufaste, who has lived in the town since 1971. "Connecticut Avenue wasn't what it is today. We all thought of Wheaton Plaza as quite safe. It changed the way parents thought at the time about keeping their children safe."Although old newspaper clippings about the case have long since faded, the investigation remains open and there are few who lived here who don't remember the search for Sheila and Katherine, and the wave of fear that forever changed the community.

"It was never forgotten; we still talk about it today," said Jeannette DeLawter, who has lived in Kensington with her husband, Douglas, for 38 years. "A lot of young couples have moved into the neighborhood and want to know what it was like back then, and the Lyon girls always come up in the conversation. ... Back then, that type of thing didn't really happen."

Although the Montgomery County Police Department would not comment on specifics of the investigation, Lt. Philip C. Raum said detectives in the Major Crimes Division's Cold Case Unit continue to follow old leads, even traveling out of state in the last two months."I don't think there's anything that you would call fresh, but I think there are things to do, to continue to follow up on things that existed a long time ago," he said.

Ron Jones, a case manager at the nonprofit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said he hears from people about the Lyon case regularly."I received a lead from a young lady just a few weeks ago," he said. The woman told him that as a child she was approached around the time of the Lyon girls' disappearance by a man who exposed himself to her and tried to get her into his car. But her mother came outside, Jones said, and the man got into his car and drove away."She said she still has dreams about it."

A community in wait
The story gripped the community from the start. One reason was that the girls' father, John Lyon, was a well-known and well-liked radio personality on WMAL in Bethesda."Those of us who know him personally know that that's absolutely real and he's even nicer than you could ever tell from being on the air," said Chris Core, longtime talk radio host on WMAL. "John and Mary are just the nicest people and such good parents. That was particularly tough."The story has had a profound influence on Core, who began working full time at the station about a month before the Lyon sisters disappeared and has remained close with their father."It's in that group of moments where the community just held its breath," Core said. "Partly because John was a well-known celebrity and partly because here are two innocent little girls going to the mall and disappear off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again."

Frances Kuester, a neighbor of the Lyon family on Plyers Mill Road in Kensington, knew the younger Lyon sister well. Kate, as Kuester called her, would stop by occasionally to take Kuester's daughter Cathy, a toddler at the time, to nearby Homewood Park."We would sit on the porch and talk sometimes if it was a nice day," she said. "Those were before the days that kids had every minute scheduled."Kuester had given birth to another daughter, named Judy, a week before the girls disappeared. Katherine had stopped by on March 24 hoping to see the baby, but Judy was asleep."I told her to come by the next day," Kuester said. "I promised her I'd be sure to have Judy up."When Kate didn't show, Kuester called the girls' mother, Mary Lyon, who said the girls were running late and should be back any moment.Sheila and Katherine walked along Drumm Avenue that day with less than $4 in their pockets. It was enough for pizza at The Orange Bowl and browsing the shops at Wheaton Plaza, which was still an outdoor mall at the time. They most likely walked a popular shortcut, along a footpath through some woods, and then up Drumm Avenue and Faulkner Place.Peg Dunne, a mother of seven who lives on Drumm Avenue, said it was not uncommon for children to walk to Wheaton Plaza without adults."It was quite a coincidence," she said -- it was the first day she let two of her younger children go to Wheaton Plaza without their older siblings. "I told my son to watch out for his sister."When the Lyon sisters didn't return from the mall in time for dinner, their parents called the police.

Police began their search for the girls immediately. One of the investigators was Harry Geehreng, a detective with the department's Juvenile Aid Unit. Geehreng, 62, a former sergeant, has been retired since 1994 but still has vivid memories of the case that commanded the attention of the entire department."As far as the frustration of not being able to solve a case, this has to be at the very top," he said. "You'll have killings that you can't solve. You have someone who's been murdered and you don't catch the person responsible. But this one, when you just don't know what happened to them, is the most frustrating."

Life began to change
Reports indicated that police knew early in the girls' disappearance that they hadn't run away from home, a notion backed up by virtually everyone who knew Sheila and Katherine."They got along great with their parents," Kuester said.Though the circumstances surrounding Sheila and Katherine's disappearance were suspicious, Gordon Crump recalls that at first, the community was certain the girls would be found."Everyone was very positive that they'd show up," said Crump, who grew up in the area and graduated from Albert Einstein High School in 1980, the year Sheila would have graduated.

Bob Redmond was the principal at Newport Mill Middle School, where Sheila was in seventh grade. On the day yearbook pictures were released, Redmond delivered Sheila's photo to her mother."I guess we were optimistic," he said. "They were missing, but they would be found. We were hoping against hope that they'd be found."Crump remembers that the disappearance changed the amount of freedom his parents gave him."The biggest thing I remember is before then, I could just run out on my bike and Mom wouldn't ask me where I was going. I could just ride anywhere," he said. But after the girls disappeared, "My mom wanted to know where I was, when I was going to be home. If I didn't show, she would get worried."In some ways the part of Kensington where the Lyon girls lived has remained the same. Many of the people who lived in those homes in 1975 still live there today. Tall trees arch over the roofs, dwarfing the homes, unlike the delicate saplings that have been planted around new construction.But the neighborhood has also undergone many of the changes seen in the rest of Montgomery County over the last 30 years. Tiny Cape Cods have added second and sometimes third floors. An orchid orchard was cleared to make way for expensive new townhouses.The most dramatic change may be in the attitudes of the people, and part of that change is because of what happened to Sheila and Katherine."The difference I really see is the awareness of parents," said Core, who has a 10-year-old daughter. "Parents have certainly changed. We live in a really nice safe Chevy Chase community where, theoretically, my daughter should be able to walk around like I did [at her age], but we just don't do it."

Time passes, but memories remain
Over the years, the public spotlight has dimmed on the Lyon case, but the story remains fresh at the county police department, which has strong family ties to the case. The girls' older brother, Jay Lyon, is a police officer."This case has always had a very deep connection with this police department," Raum said. "For years, it was the most high-profile case in the county, and now Jay's been a police officer for the better part of the 30 years -- it's a hit-home case. And it's one of the first ones our Cold Case guys are looking at."Jones said he contacts the police when his office receives a lead, and that he always appreciates when people share even the tiniest memory."Any little lead can help find them and who might have taken them," he said.Even those not directly connected to the search say they've had a hard time forgetting about Sheila and Katherine."My daughter Judy was just a few days old when they disappeared," Kuester said. "Every year around her birthday I think of them."Core, who has lived in Chevy Chase since 1971, said the experience made him much more protective of his own daughter.The county lost its innocence on March 25, 1975, he said, and that day enters his mind in just about every decision he makes when it comes to his little girl."It was a jolt," Core said. "We would be different in 2005 than we were in 1975 with or without the Lyon case. But that accelerated the process here, making people take note, saying this is how we have to protect our kids." ....

link:
http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265841-1.html

Richard
06-20-2005, 09:49 AM
From The Gazette:

Intense search only left police, community frustrated
by Charlotte Tucker and Chris Williams
Staff Writers Mar. 23, 2005

Retired Police Sgt. Harry Geehreng leafs through a scrapbook of old cases in his Damascus home. "Because we had nothing, we had no really substantial leads, we were just grasping at anything that came in, not wanting to disregard any tip," he said.

While investigators had few clues in the disappearance of Sheila and Katherine Lyon, one thing was almost certain -- the girls had not run away from home.Police did not keep statistics on missing children in 1975. But according to Carla Proudfoot, director of the Maryland Center for Missing Children, Sheila and Katherine, at 12 and 10, were younger than most kids who leave home by choice."Most runaways are between 14 and 17 years old," she said, adding that those ages haven't changed since 1986, when the state agency first began keeping the data.

The widespread search began in the early hours of March 26, 1975. Retired Sgt. Harry Geehreng, a plainclothes detective in the department's Juvenile Aid Unit at the time, remembers tearing up his leisure suit while searching through briars in the woods near the girls' Kensington neighborhood."

You really cannot fathom the emotion involved in it, the intensity -- and the frustration," Geehreng said.Over the first few days, searchers combed back yards and the woods the girls would have had to walk through to get to the mall. Police dredged the pond near the Kensington Gardens Nursing Home on McComas Avenue. Officers wearing oxygen masks searched storm drains and sewers. Police looked in people's homes."They came around to all the neighbors," remembered Peg Dunne, who lives on Drumm Avenue near where the girls disappeared. "They asked if they could search basements, garages -- it was strictly volunteer."

Douglas DeLawter, who has lived in Kensington for 38 years, remembers the intensity of the police search."They came in the house, looked in closets and boxes and under stairs," he said. "The detectives interviewed everyone."If the search appeared desperate early on in the investigation, statistics validated the police's concern."For one thing, it's unusual that two girls, especially sisters, would go missing at the same time," said Ron Jones, a case manager at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who was a Metropolitan Police detective before working at the nonprofit. "It's happened before, but it's unusual. And at that time, we weren't hearing about too many child abductions. It was odd that they would just disappear off the face of the earth."

In talking to patrons and employees who had been at Wheaton Plaza that day, police learned that several people had seen the girls talking to a man holding a microphone attached to a tape recorder inside a briefcase. Witnesses said he was trying to record women's voices for an answering machine. When news of the man with the tape recorder broke, police were inundated with calls from other girls and women who had been approached by a similar man."That really set it off," Geehreng said. "By Sunday we were getting so many phone calls we had to call more people in."The man was described as approximately 6 feet tall and 50 years old, wearing a brown suit and carrying a brown briefcase. Police released two composite sketches of the man based on witness descriptions, including an account by two salesgirls and a customer who said they saw the man on March 22 -- three days before Sheila and Katherine disappeared -- at Iverson Mall and Marlow Heights in Prince George's County.

As the search for the girls moved into its third week, a sort of mania about the case developed in communities around Washington, D.C.First came the news that an IBM executive reported seeing two girls bound and gagged in the back of a station wagon stopped at a red light in Manassas, Va. The executive said the driver saw him looking at the girls and drove off, running the red light. He said the vehicle was a 1968 beige Ford station wagon with Maryland tags; he was able to make out the first four characters of the license plate, DMT-6, but the rest of the tag was bent and obscured, reports said.The announcement of the supposed sighting touched off a frenzy of activity. The Washington Post reported that C-B radio operators chased phantom suspects. Truck drivers forced beige Ford station wagons from the road and examined their contents."

The governor sent the National Guard to help us search," Geehreng said. "We searched a wooded area on Muncaster Road [in Rockville]. ... A psychic had called in and said we would find a body there. Because we had nothing, we had no really substantial leads, we were just grasping at anything that came in, not wanting to disregard any tip."Extortionists also took advantage of the case. An Annapolis radio station reported that John Lyon, the girls' father, was told to leave $10,000 at a location in Annapolis, but police would not confirm the extortion attempt. The station said that the money was not picked up, no arrest was made and investigators thought the attempt was fake.

Police have considered a few suspects over the years, including Fred Howard Coffey, a man convicted in 1987 of murdering a young girl in North Carolina. Police learned that Coffey was living in Silver Spring around the time that Sheila and Katherine disappeared, and they began considering him a suspect in March 1987, according to published reports and the national missing children center. Police were unable to connect him to the case, however, and he has never been charged.Coffey, who is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison, did not respond to a request for an interview.In 1982 police also dug up the yard of Raymond Rudolph Mileski, a Suitland man serving a 40-year prison term for killing his wife and teenage son in their home in November 1977. Police were looking for evidence connecting Mileski to the Lyon case but came away empty-handed.

Geehreng does not quite remember when the department's focus began to shift away from the Lyon girls."I really can't tell you, but you reach a point where you have other things to do, so you have to start turning your resources back to other cases," he said. "But the intensity level remained very, very high for a long time."Today, the case file is spread out across two tables in a room at police headquarters in Rockville, said Lt. Philip C. Raum, Deputy Director of the Major Crimes Division. After 30 years, the investigation remains a high priority and sits atop the caseload of the department's Cold Case Unit. ...
http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265842-1.html

Usher737
06-20-2005, 11:14 AM
From The Gazette:




Police have considered a few suspects over the years, including Fred Howard Coffey, a man convicted in 1987 of murdering a young girl in North Carolina. Police learned that Coffey was living in Silver Spring around the time that Sheila and Katherine disappeared, and they began considering him a suspect in March 1987, according to published reports and the national missing children center. Police were unable to connect him to the case, however, and he has never been charged.Coffey, who is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison, did not respond to a request for an interview.In 1982 police also dug up the yard of Raymond Rudolph Mileski, a Suitland man serving a 40-year prison term for killing his wife and teenage son in their home in November 1977. Police were looking for evidence connecting Mileski to the Lyon case but came away empty-handed.

http://www.gazette.net/200512/montgomerycty/county/265842-1.html

Pesonally I feel Coffey is a much more viable suspect than Mileski. Raymond committed a personal killing. I do not believe the Lyon sisters were kidnapped by someone that they knew. I think the crime was committed by someone relatively new to the area and did not stick around long after the crime. I am sure if it was not Coffey it was someone like him. A serial predator who hunts for victims and can carefully dispose of them.

I also feel the tape recorder man was involved. Strange how he never appeared at the mall again or in the surrounding area.

Richard
06-20-2005, 12:29 PM
Pesonally I feel Coffey is a much more viable suspect than Mileski. Raymond committed a personal killing. I do not believe the Lyon sisters were kidnapped by someone that they knew. I think the crime was committed by someone relatively new to the area and did not stick around long after the crime. I am sure if it was not Coffey it was someone like him. A serial predator who hunts for victims and can carefully dispose of them.

I also feel the tape recorder man was involved. Strange how he never appeared at the mall again or in the surrounding area.
I agree with you completely. There have been quite a few other "individuals of interest" investigated by police over the years, but of all of them Coffey seems the most likely.

Mileski did kill his son and wife in his own home, but no clear reason for doing so ever emerged from the investigation or trial. He maintained over the years that he "knew" who the person was that kidnapped Sheila and Kate. As recently as 2001, he offered to trade that information for better prison accomodations. He was clearly trying to benefit from the case. He was also still trying to appeal his murder conviction as late as December 2004. He died in prison this past May. Mileski may have actually known something, or he may have just been making things up in his own mind and trying to profit from it - much like the many crank callers who asked for ransom during the early stages of the investigation. To believe the Mileski scenario(s) one would have to accept that a very secretive serial killer in some way took Mileski into his confidence - or that Mileski, through some chance encounter, happened upon evidence. That might not be too far off the mark, if for instance, Mileski had rented a room or place to the killer while he was in town, and then later
ran across some evidence which would lead him to believe that the man had committed the abduction and murder of the girls.

Coffey, however, is clearly a serial abuser and killer of children. It is not certain just when he arrived in the Montgomery county, Maryland area. He had been discharged from the Navy on 17 September 1974, following convictions of sexual abuse of children in Virginia Beach, VA. It is known that he was in the Wheaton/Kensington/Silver Spring area on 1 April 1975 -because he interviewed at Vitro Laboratories (a defense contractor firm) on that day. But how much before 1 April he arrived is not known.

Coffey began working for Vitro on 24 April, but left abruptly when Kathy Lynn Beatty was found on 25 July 1975, still barely alive, after being abducted, raped and beatten. Kathy had received fatal injuries and succombed to them on 5 August, never regaining conciousness. Coffey did not stick around to see how things were going to turn out with Kathy. He lied to his employer, saying that his wife and daughter had been in a bad traffic accident, and quit as of 31 July.

There are a lot of coincidences which tie Coffey to the disappearance of Sheila and Kate, and to the abduction and murder of Kathy. But the solid evidence was not there at the time, and by 1987 when Montgomery County Police first heard of Coffey, he was already being tried in North Carolina for the murder of 10-year-old Amanda Ray.

Aside from the sketch and description of "Tape Recorder Man", no physical evidence was found in the case of Kate and Sheila Lyon. It is another very strong coincidence that Tape Recorder Man disappeared at the same time the girls did - when eyewitness testimony placed him at Wheaton Plaza the previous day, and at two other malls the previous Saturday.

In the case of Kathy Beatty's murder, physical evidence might still exist. I know that a ring of keys was found near her. I do not know what other evidence, if any, was found with her. If there is any way that DNA might have survived for 30 years, perhaps her murder can still be solved.

IF Coffey could be conclusively linked to Kathy's murder, perhaps the threat of a death penalty could convince him to talk about his other activites and crimes.

smile22
06-20-2005, 02:36 PM
so the tape recorder man was not seen after the disaperance of sheila and kathrine .? no other sighting of a man and a tape recorder in other states, east west midwest cost,? i think the man saw the papers got scared and knew if he tried the tape recorder schem again he would get cought. no one saw what kind of car he got into? what about the poster on ws who had pictures that were lost and needed to be found. did u find them? and if so are they of any help in the case of sheila and kathrine

mere
06-21-2005, 09:57 AM
Unfortionatly the member who posted about the pictures has not logged on since 5/11. I wonder if it was a hoax.

Fronkensteen
06-21-2005, 10:08 AM
Unfortionatly the member who posted about the pictures has not logged on since 5/11. I wonder if it was a hoax.I've been wondering the same thing...for anyone not familiar with her posting, please see page 5 (http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6560&page=5&pp=25) of this thread.

I've sent many private messages over the last few months (through this site) to DCNationalsFan, and I was able to track down her photojournalism instructor (could only get an email address though). I've sent him several emails describing the case in the hopes of jogging his memory. I've also emailed the administrator of this site, hoping that someone can contact this person through other channels.

To date, I've received no replies from anyone.

I would like to make another appeal to DCNationalsFan (http://websleuths.com/forums/member.php?userid=5640) to please contact me directly at my email address (rob0620@optonline.net), or through this forum!

If anyone knows who DCNationalsFan is, please urge her to come forward with any information she may have.

Thanks.

shadowangel
06-21-2005, 01:22 PM
If it helps, someone using that same name was posting quite extensively at a site called SlickDeals.net (forums). Maybe there is some info under the public profile...

Usher737
06-21-2005, 01:25 PM
From Richard

"IF Coffey could be conclusively linked to Kathy's murder, perhaps the threat of a death penalty could convince him to talk about his other activites and crimes."

That would be great!!! I have the feeling that Coffey is responsible for many child homicides in many states.

The police need to test his DNA against other possible cases. They also need to track his whereabouts throughly thru the years. This is a monster who needs to confess then die!


I would bet money that he arrived in town early for his interview. Probably looking for a place to stay and victims.


Where were his victims found in other cases? And what was the proximity to where they were taken from? Maybe this info could help create a likely search area for the Lyons sisters.

Fronkensteen
06-21-2005, 01:45 PM
If it helps, someone using that same name was posting quite extensively at a site called SlickDeals.net (forums). Maybe there is some info under the public profile...Thanks for the tip. I registered and sent a message to DCNationalsFan on that forum.

Fronkensteen
06-21-2005, 01:50 PM
From Richard

"IF Coffey could be conclusively linked to Kathy's murder, perhaps the threat of a death penalty could convince him to talk about his other activites and crimes."

That would be great!!! I have the feeling that Coffey is responsible for many child homicides in many states.

The police need to test his DNA against other possible cases. They also need to track his whereabouts throughly thru the years. This is a monster who needs to confess then die!


I would bet money that he arrived in town early for his interview. Probably looking for a place to stay and victims.


Where were his victims found in other cases? And what was the proximity to where they were taken from? Maybe this info could help create a likely search area for the Lyons sisters.I posted a short description of other homicides Coffey has been suspected of committing:
http://websleuths.com/forums/showpost.php?p=677294&postcount=13

Check out the Websleuths thread on Neely Smith (http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16875) for more information on Coffey and his possible connection to her murder.

For background's sake: what the Charlotte Observer article doesn't mention is that Coffey spent 12 years in the Navy from 1962 to 1974, and served in the Vietnam theater.

Even though Fred was an 8th grade dropout, he moved up the ranks in the Navy, eventually reaching an E-6 grade (Petty Officer First Class) in a highly technical field, working on Tactical Data Systems in Naval Operations and Intelligence. Clearly, he's an intelligent individual, able to function at a high level.

Despite a successful long-time Naval career, he left the service shortly after being convicted on child molestation charges in Virginia Beach in 1974. He was honorably discharged, but there doesn't seem to be any other reason for him to have left the Navy at that time. He certainly didn't leave for greener pastures.

His movements after leaving the Navy (around the Fall of 1974 up until March 31, 1975) are unclear; it's likely he was scrambling around trying to find work and a place to live. He probably got the April 1st interview with Vitro Labs, a defence contractor, through his naval contacts. He did get the job, and started with them on April 24, 1975 as a Computer Data Systems employee.

I've read that some serial offenders commit their crimes during periods of great stress in their personal lives. If this particular period in Coffey's life was not a stressful one, I don't know what would be.

Thanks.

mere
06-21-2005, 01:55 PM
Thanks for the tip. I registered and sent a message to DCNationals on that forum.
Thanks! Please keep us posted if you hear anything.

Usher737
06-21-2005, 02:49 PM
Thanks Fronkensteen!

I have read the whole Neely Smith thread and have little doubt that Coffey is responsible.

It appears that he does not go to great lenghts to hide his victims bodies.

I bet the Lyons sisters could be found in that wooded area near their house.

I would like to know where was Coffey from Aug. 1975-1986

Fronkensteen
06-21-2005, 03:05 PM
Thanks Fronkensteen!

I have read the whole Neely Smith thread and have little doubt that Coffey is responsible.

It appears that he does not go to great lenghts to hide his victims bodies.

I bet the Lyons sisters could be found in that wooded area near their house.

I would like to know where was Coffey from Aug. 1975-1986My information is sketchy at best. I'm sure the authorities have a more complete picture of Coffey's whereabouts, but here's what I have in a nutshell:

After leaving his job with Vitro Corp. on July 25, 1975, Coffey surfaced in Norfolk Virginia, in October of that year, when he was charged twice with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Then it appears he eventually ended up in North Carolina sometime towards the end of '75.

Coffey's prison records indicate that he joined the North Carolina National Guard sometime in 1975 (no exact date was given) as a Field Artillery Operations Specialist, serving 3 years until 1978, with a honorable discharge. My feeling is that he was trying to re-integrate himself back into military life, an existance comfortingly familiar to him. Ironically, the Maryland National Guard was involved in the search for Sheila and Katherine Lyon after they vanished.

Based on what we know from the Amanda Ray/Neely Smith cases, Coffey was definitely living in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area between 1979-1981.

He was back in his hometown of Bristol, Virginia by 1986, where he is suspected in the homicide of an 8 year old boy.

By late 1986, he had been brought back to North Carolina, where he pleaded guilty to 9 counts of indecent liberties with a 12 and 13 year old brother and sister, and another girl (he was sentenced to 50 years in prison). I can't ascertain when these crimes were committed, only that he was convicted in 1986.

Based on news articles from that time, the area around the Lyon residence was thoroughly searched for weeks and months after the sisters vanished. County and State Police, hundreds of volunteers, Police helicopters, and tracking dogs scoured the areas around Wheaton Plaza and the girls' Kensington neighborhood. Police even searched culverts and underground drain pipes. Each house in the neighborhood was examined, and all empty homes in the area were searched. At some point, the FBI and the National Guard were involved in the effort. No physical evidence was ever located. Although it's possible that something was missed, to my mind it's highly unlikely that they would have been killed and buried in the immediate area. More likely, they were quickly transported to another location away from potential witnesses and subsequent search efforts.

Because of the unprecedented media coverage, and the considerable efforts of LE, the abductor may have been feeling the heat, and perhaps took greater pains to hide evidence.

Hope this helps.

mere
06-22-2005, 11:13 AM
I know this is a morbid question, but how long under normal climatic conditions can remains be uncovered? Is it still possible if in fact the Lyon sisters are not alive they could be found?

Richard
06-22-2005, 12:39 PM
I know this is a morbid question, but how long under normal climatic conditions can remains be uncovered? Is it still possible if in fact the Lyon sisters are not alive they could be found?
You ask a very good question, and the answer could cover several books. There simply is not an exact answer, because there are so many unknown variables. Look at the case of the "Ice Man" who was found in the Alps and who had been frozen for over 5,000 years! And then there was a whole Company of officers and men of the 77th division in WWI who were MIA (Missing in Action, but presumed killed) but no trace was ever found of any of them.

Remains left on the surface, tend to be scattered somewhat by various factors, but some could still be found today. I was personally involved in the recovery of Three Naval flight crew members whose airplane had crashed on a Pacific Island in 1944. 44 years later we were able to find enough remains to know at the end of the first day that we had all three men. Two were positively identified through Navy dental records, and the third was identified through general forensic analysis of remains and through official Navy records. (He had gone missing with the two identified men)

Remains buried in the ground are obviously harder to locate, but they are better preserved than those remaining above ground. As to the rate of decay, etc, that depends upon many factors; such as type and acidity of soil, presense or absense of water, ground disturbance, etc. A very interesting historical document about the removal of Soldiers from battlefield graves in Gettysburg to the National Cemetery there in 1863 - is the report by Dr. Samuel Weaver to the Governor of Pennsylvania. It was Dr. Weaver's job to supervize all removals and reburials and he took the job literally. He would watch the remains being removed, attempt to make an identification, catalog all belongings found with the body, and describe the condition of the body. Although all of these soldiers were killed within three days of each other, the condition of the body ran from completely skeletonized to almost perfectly preserved - and everything in between.

Is it possible that remains could be found and positively identified after 30 years? I think so. The fact that no bodies have been located to date would indicate to me very strongly that they were buried in a remote area, where the perpetrator could not be easily observed. And there are plenty of such places throughout the Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia area. If a good area of probability could be identified, there are techniques that could locate graves, such as infrared aerial photography and in-ground radar, as well as a few other techniques.

Richard
06-22-2005, 01:02 PM
My information is sketchy at best. I'm sure the authorities have a more complete picture of Coffey's whereabouts, but here's what I have in a nutshell:

After leaving his job with Vitro on July 25, 1975, it appears he eventually ended up in North Carolina sometime during the latter half of that year.

Coffey's prison records indicate that he joined the North Carolina National Guard sometime in 1975 (no exact date was given, but it would obviously had to have been between August and December) as a Field Artillery Operations Specialist, serving 3 years until 1978, with a honorable discharge. I guess he was trying to re-integrate himself back into military life, an existance comfortingly familiar to him. Ironically, the Maryland National Guard was involved in the search for Sheila and Katherine Lyon after they vanished.

Based on what we know from the Amanda Ray/Neely Smith cases, Coffey was definitely living in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area between 1979-1981.

He was back in his hometown of Bristol, Virginia by 1986, where he is suspected in the homicide of an 8 year old boy.

By late 1986, he had been brought back to North Carolina, where he pleaded guilty to 9 counts of indecent liberties with a 12 and 13 year old brother and sister, and another girl (he was sentenced to 50 years in prison). I can't ascertain when these crimes were committed, only that he was convicted in 1986.

Based on news articles from that time, the area around the Lyon residence was thoroughly searched for weeks and months after the sisters vanished. County and State Police, hundreds of volunteers, Police helicopters, and tracking dogs scoured the areas around Wheaton Plaza and the girls' Kensington neighborhood. Police even searched culverts and underground drain pipes. Each house in the neighborhood was examined, and all empty homes in the area were searched. At some point, the FBI and the National Guard were involved in the effort. No physical evidence was ever located. Although it's possible that something was missed, to my mind it's highly unlikely that they would have been killed and buried in the immediate area. More likely, they were quickly transported to another location away from potential witnesses and subsequent search efforts.

Because of the unprecedented media coverage, and the considerable efforts of LE, the abductor may have been feeling the heat, and perhaps took greater pains to hide evidence.

Hope this helps.
On the subject of Mr. Coffey: He comes up for Parole again this July. Below is a link to a website of concerned citizens in Mecklinberg County, NC which monitors and advises the Parole Board, and which lists all Convicted Criminals up for Parole. Please note that Parole Hearings for July are not yet posted, but that Fred Coffey's case will be before the Board in July, as in all past years since 1995.

It is your right to write to that Parole Board in advance of their hearing to consider whether or not to release Coffey. You can write a letter and mail it or you can send an e-mail with your thoughts on the subject to them.

http://www.charmeck.nc.us/Departments/Police/Crime+Info/Citizen+Watch+Programs/Citizens+Parole+Advisory+Committee/Citizens+Parole+Advisory+Committee.htm

mere
06-22-2005, 01:59 PM
Assuming the sighting of the Lyon sisters in the station wagon heading towards Manassas was true. That would be the route Coffee would have taken if he drove from Wheaton to his home town in Bristol VA. It is over a 380 mile trip so it is doubtful that he would have gone all the way to Bristol. But there were probably remote areas along I-81 that he would be familiar with. I think this would be more likely of an area to look at vs.. in the Wheaton/ Kennsington area. For those new to this thread Coffee is not a suspect in the Lyon's disappearance.

Fronkensteen
06-22-2005, 02:26 PM
Thanks Fronkensteen!

I have read the whole Neely Smith thread and have little doubt that Coffey is responsible.

It appears that he does not go to great lenghts to hide his victims bodies.

I bet the Lyons sisters could be found in that wooded area near their house.

I would like to know where was Coffey from Aug. 1975-1986Just FYI, on his Vitro Labs employment application, Coffey listed the "Holiday Motel" in Gaithersburg on MD Route 355 as his home address.

I don't know if the police ever found out where he was living while he was working at Vitro.

Usher737
06-23-2005, 01:22 PM
Just FYI, on his Vitro Labs employment application, Coffey listed the "Holiday Motel" in Gaithersburg on MD Route 355 as his home address.

I don't know if the police ever found out where he was living while he was working at Vitro.
How close is that to Wheaton, MD, where the girls lived ?

I am interested in the exact distance.

Richard
06-23-2005, 02:26 PM
How close is that to Wheaton, MD, where the girls lived ?

I am interested in the exact distance.
MD route 355 is also known as Rockville Pike. At its closest point to the girls house (in Kensington, MD), the distance is two miles. At its closest point to Wheaton Plaza it is Two and one half miles. Measured on an accurate map.

I do not know the exact address of the Holiday Motel, and the hotel is not on my 1976 edition Map of Montgomery County. The maximum distance, however, would not exceed five miles from either place.

There is often some confusion as to the names of the various towns and cities in Maryland. Often the names Wheaton, Kensington, and Silver Spring are used interchangably. That is because many post offices were consolodated in years past, and sometimes general areas are indicated, rather that exact geographic locations. Silver Spring, Maryland is a major Post Office address for that whole area, and so many businesses are listed with that for their address, when in fact, they may be located next to a residential area with a different name.

Usher737
06-23-2005, 03:46 PM
Thanks so much Richard! I tried to figure this out on my own but had a hard time and now I know why.

IMO, this definetley puts Coffey in the area. I bet he came to town in advance of his interview to get familiar with the area.


He could have even drove the girls to a spot near his hotel.
I wonder how well this are was searched. I can't see him digging a grave, so I wonder how he could have disposed of them?

Richard
06-25-2005, 08:08 AM
.... He could have even drove the girls to a spot near his hotel.
I wonder how well this are was searched. I can't see him digging a grave, so I wonder how he could have disposed of them?The fact that no trace of the girls has turned up in the past 30 years has frustrated police and investigators. There were some very intensive searches conducted in 1975 in the days, weeks, and months following the girls disappearance. The newspapers are full of stories about those searches, although they do not always specify what areas exactly were searched. Police files probably contain more detailed maps and reports of areas searched, but that in itself is speculation.

The Washington DC metropolitan area, which includes Counties in Maryland and Northern Virginia actually has many rural and remote wooded areas where someone could dispose of a body. The suburbs continue to expand and development is destroying much rural farm land, but there are still a lot natural wooded areas, wetlands, and parks throughout the area.

A look at many of the John/Jane Doe cases throughout the country indicates that most of those unidentified bodies were NOT buried, but rather simply left where they died, or dumped in remote areas. Some of them (but definitely a minority of the cases) were buried in shallow graves.

The case for which Fred Coffey was convicted involved a little girl whose body was left in the open in a wooded area, near a body of water. This was also the case in a few other cases in which he is the prime suspect. That, however, does not preclude the possibility that he might have buried other victims.

mysteriew
06-26-2005, 12:15 AM
Richard, this is OT but you sound very experienced.

Skipper
07-04-2005, 08:57 PM
The case for which Fred Coffey was convicted involved a little girl whose body was left in the open in a wooded area, near a body of water. This was also the case in a few other cases in which he is the prime suspect. That, however, does not preclude the possibility that he might have buried other victims.[/QUOTE]

Fred Coffey is just a coverup for the incompentence of Montgomery County and the involvement of members of the police force in the kidnapping.

Richard
07-06-2005, 11:09 PM
The case for which Fred Coffey was convicted involved a little girl whose body was left in the open in a wooded area, near a body of water. This was also the case in a few other cases in which he is the prime suspect. That, however, does not preclude the possibility that he might have buried other victims. ... Fred Coffey is just a coverup for the incompentence of Montgomery County and the involvement of members of the police force in the kidnapping.

If that were the case, why would they wait for 12 years to start investigating him? Coffey is a very real, and very evil individual. He has not yet been conclusively linked to any crimes in Maryland, but continues to be an individual of interest in this case and several others.

Richard
07-13-2005, 07:32 AM
Here in Maryland, there is an advertising company called "Shopwise" which mails out postcards with advertisements on the back. On the front are featured cases of missing children. Yesterday, I received one which features Kate and Sheila Lyon.

This is rather unusual, as most other cases are much more recent. This is the first time that I have seen the Lyon sisters featured in this manner. The photos are of them at age 10 and 12, not the "age progressed" drawings seen on various websites.

smile22
07-13-2005, 08:48 AM
weird that they didnt put age progressions, lisa white vanished from ct walking home from a friends house.. in the 70s her case was just recently added to do with age progressions. i was i my local walmart and saw her case. as well as andy puglise who also vanished in the 70s from ma.. janice pockett also had a age progression and im sure ill see her at walmart on the wall of cases

Usher737
07-13-2005, 10:42 AM
Good question! I think they should be age progressed just in case they are alive. I just got one of those "Have You Seen Me" cards in the mail yesterday that had their pictures on it with stats. Only 2 pictures fit on the card so the girls would have to be done on separte cards instead of together like they are now to include aged photo.

smile22
07-13-2005, 10:58 AM
or they could put the age progression pics and then say u can find older pics of when they went missing at age such and such at www. whatever the web adress is .com

h0db
07-24-2005, 02:48 PM
Richard is right-- there are few incorporated towns in Mont. Co., MD, and Kensington, Wheaton, and Silver Spring overlap and run together-- for instance, my zip code is Silver Spring, but I can see downtown Kensington (which is incorporated) if I walk down my street about 200 yards. The streets the girls were last seen walking have a Kensington zip code, but if you walk 20 yards up a grassy slope from the circle at the end of Faulkner Pl. (Kensington), you are in Wheaton.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Faulkner+Pl,+kensington,+MD&spn=0.020394,0.040525&t=h&hl=en

Mike
07-27-2005, 05:25 PM
:twocents: Fred Howard COFFEY, Jr. (see also Neely Smith thread this forum)

Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. is currently serving a life term in NC for the 1979 murder of a 10 year NC girl. He may have been involved in the Lyon Sisters abduction, and possibly in the July 1975 abduction/murder of 15 year-old Kathy Lynn Beatty, also of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. was born 03/20/45 in either Virginia or North Carolina. By his and his family's account, he was subjected to severe sexual abuse as a child by his father. An eighth-grade dropout, he attended some college courses later in life.

Coffey enlisted in the Navy at age 17 on May 19, 1962. He served aboard the USS Caloosahatchee AO98 (a fleet oiler), based in Norfolk, VA from 1963 to about 1966. He served his second tour of duty in VietNam, and then a third tour of duty - possibly again in Norfolk. Coffey served a total of 12 years in the US Navy and was honorably discharged as a First Class Petty Officer (E-6) on 12 Sept 1974.

It is quite possible and likely that Coffey had Navy contacts in the Washington/MD/VA area which helped him land a job with Vitro Laboratories.
Employment records from Vitro Laboratories (a Defense Contractor specializing in Navy weapon systems) in Silver Spring MD place him in the area between 1 April and 31 July 1975.

He is considered a suspect in several other murders/abductions, and reportedly confessed to a psychologist as having molested approximately 100 children. He was fond of using gimmicks such as a fishing pole, metal detector, and possibly disguises to lure children.

Coffey's criminal record includes:

- Convicted on two counts of child molestation in Virginia Beach, 1974. Not known whether or not the Navy knew about this, but he was allowed to get out with an Honorable Discharge at the end of his third enlistment - perhaps before the civilian courts had concluded the case.

- Convicted in 1986 and sentenced to 50-years for nine counts of molesting three children in Caldwell County, N.C.

- Coffey was considered a prime suspect in the August, 1986 death of an 8-year-old boy, Travis Shane King, in Bristol, Virginia. King was seen in the company of Coffey near Eastridge shortly before he disappeared, according to Bristol Virginia police detectives. Body found on shores of Boone Lake. He had been strangled.

- Coffey was married between 1978-1982. A friend of Coffey's wife testified that she called police in 1979, two months before Amanda Ray's death, after her 3-year-old described Coffey masturbating in front of her.

- In 1987 was convicted of 1st degree murder for the 1979 Abduction/murder of a 10 year-old girl, Amanda Ray. Amanda was strangled and found near water, in a rural area. Coffey owned a dog (its hairs, found in his van and on Amanda Ray, helped convict him in the Ray killing). Two juries sentenced him to death, but through legal maneuverings, a third jury sentenced him to life in prison with all sentences to run concurrently. Eligible for parole since 1995.

- In 1987, he was investigated by MCP as a possible suspect in the 1975 sexual assault and slaying of 15-year-old Kathy Lynn Beatty of Aspen Hill, which occurred less than a mile from where Coffey once worked. Kathy was found badly beaten and left for dead in a Silver Spring ditch. She lived for two weeks before succumbing to her injuries on 5 August 1975. Coffey quit his job and left town on 31 July 1975. Police had hoped to link Coffey to a set of keys found near the beaten body of Kathy Beatty.

- In 1987, he was considered one of the strongest suspects in the double abduction of the Lyon sisters in Wheaton, MD in March, 1975. Coffey was in the Maryland area around the time of the Lyons' disappearance. Coffey applied for a job at Vitro Corp. in Aspen Hill (then Vitro Laboratories in Silver Spring) as a computer data system employee and was interviewed on 1 April 1975. He worked for them from April 24, 1975, to July 31, 1975. MCP tried to pinpoint when Coffey first came to a Gaithersburg motel where he was known to have stayed. They also tried to get old motor vehicle records to verify reports that he had bought a car in Montgomery about the time of the Lyon girls' disappearance. Montgomery County Police looked at Coffey as a possible suspect in both the Lyon and Beatty cases in 1987, but could not conclusively place him at either scene.

- Police in NC are currently trying to connect Coffey to a 1981 murder of a 5 year-old girl, Neely Smith, from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. Coffey lived in the same apartment complex as the girl. Neely's remains found near water, in a rural area. She had been raped and strangled.

- A 17 October 2004 Charlotte Observer story about the 1981 Neely Smith murder stated: "Amanda Ray's mother told her not to go fishing with the gray-haired stranger". This suggests that Coffey, 34 in 1979, was either prematurely gray, or he was altering his hair color. Eyewitnesses in the 1975 Lyon disappearances described a middle-aged suspect with salt and pepper hair. It would not be unreasonable to assume that his hair could have been salt and pepper gray in '75, and that he may have looked much older to the child witnesses.

A current photo of Coffey can be seen on the North Carolina Prison System's On-Line Inmate Locator Service.

Link:

http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender/offend1?DOCNUM=0081135&SENTENCEINFO=&SHOWPHOTO=yes&numtimesin=1http://

Mike
07-27-2005, 05:29 PM
Richard you seem to know a lot about the Lyon girls. Can you tell me who is in charge of this case and how do I contact them

mysteriew
07-28-2005, 06:02 AM
Did anyone ever show Coffey's picture to the girls and women who saw "tape recorder man"?

Richard
07-29-2005, 12:21 AM
Richard you seem to know a lot about the Lyon girls. Can you tell me who is in charge of this case and how do I contact them
Montgomery County Police have been in charge of this investigation since 25 March 1975. It has always been considered an "Open Case" and has had a number of different case officers assigned over the years. It is Montgomery County's longest running continuously open case, and may well be the longest open case for the state of Maryland. The current case officer is Lt. Joe Mudano, (240) 773-5079.

Richard
07-29-2005, 01:00 AM
Did anyone ever show Coffey's picture to the girls and women who saw "tape recorder man"?
I do not know if his photo was shown to any of the origional 1975 witnesses who had claimed to have seen Tape Recorder Man. Coffey did not become a person of interest until 1987, some 12 years after the Lyon sisters went missing.

Proper police procedure in an old case like this would be for them to show the witness a "photo line-up" of several people, including a picture of the suspect. Old cases have been tried and lost because of such errors as the police only showing witnesses the photo of the suspect.

One would also have to consider that the women claimed to have seen a man resembling the sketch of "Tape Recorder Man" Their identification of Coffey (or anyone else) would only mean that he resembled the suspect - because they did not see TRC speaking to the girls, and no one actually saw anyone harm or abduct the girls.

If the boy who origionally described Tape Recorder Man could positively identify a suspect as being the man he saw talking to Sheila and Kate on 25 March 1975 at Wheaton Plaza, then perhaps that would be admissable evidence.

Kimberly
07-29-2005, 07:00 AM
Gosh, I remember this story like it happened yesterday! I was living in Wheaton, MD when the Lyon's sisters were kidnapped. It amazes me that they have never been found :( Because of this incident, I don't think I was able to go anywhere by myself for a long time!

Richard
08-03-2005, 09:43 AM
Gosh, I remember this story like it happened yesterday! I was living in Wheaton, MD when the Lyon's sisters were kidnapped. It amazes me that they have never been found :( Because of this incident, I don't think I was able to go anywhere by myself for a long time!
I recently visited the Kensington - Wheaton area and drove the roads where the Lyon sisters traveled from Home to Wheaton Plaza. Except for some very recently built condominiums on Drumm Ave., most of the residential area looks pretty much as it did in 1975. It is likely that a lot of the current residents were living there at the time of the Lyon Sisters disappearance and the intense search which took place. Police had gone door to door searching for the girls in the days following their disappearance.

Wheaton Plaza shopping mall has been renamed and it is a completely enclosed Mall today. It occupies the same geographic space as the old Plaza occupied, however, and the entrances to the parking lot are in the same locations. Gone today are the woods that separated the housing area from the mall in 1975.

smile22
08-03-2005, 10:06 AM
there was a poster who said she had pictures of that day but needed to find them did u have any luck in finding those pictures that you took all those years ago?

marylandmissing
08-04-2005, 04:28 AM
there was a poster who said she had pictures of that day but needed to find them did u have any luck in finding those pictures that you took all those years ago?
I think MC is looking into this...

mere
08-04-2005, 10:52 AM
I recently visited the Kensington - Wheaton area and drove the roads where the Lyon sisters traveled from Home to Wheaton Plaza. Except for some very recently built condominiums on Drumm Ave., most of the residential area looks pretty much as it did in 1975. It is likely that a lot of the current residents were living there at the time of the Lyon Sisters disappearance and the intense search which took place. Police had gone door to door searching for the girls in the days following their disappearance.

Wheaton Plaza shopping mall has been renamed and it is a completely enclosed Mall today. It occupies the same geographic space as the old Plaza occupied, however, and the entrances to the parking lot are in the same locations. Gone today are the woods that separated the housing area from the mall in 1975.

What exists where the woods were separating the housing area from the mall?

Richard
08-05-2005, 04:40 PM
What exists where the woods were separating the housing area from the mall?
The end of Faulkner drive ends in a sort of loop where a few cars can park. A blacktop pathway leads from the loop to the parking lot. Looking around, you see shubbery, mowed grass, and a few small trees separating what houses now exist by the parking lot. I think that the houses, lawns, paved paths, etc. are where the wooded area existed in 1975. Basically, I think that the housing area just became more "developed" with houses and landscaping since that time. As someone else pointed out, the parkinglot of what was Wheaton Plaza is in Wheaton, while all of the housing surrounding it is in the incorporated town of Kensington.

joellegirl
08-07-2005, 12:50 PM
My family and I just back from a trip to Maryland to see friends and they showed me what was Wheaton Plaza (different name and totally redone) and we went though the neighborhood, down Plyers Mill past the house, Drumm Ave etc. The area is just as Richard describes it, and it gives me a whole new insight to actually see where it all took place. We also drove though Cleveland, OH on the way and made the detour to see the park Beverly Potts(see thread below) vanished from and the home she lived in. One cannot realize what a small area she vanished in unless you go there. Other than those two stops our trip was a normal vacation but since we were in the areas I chose to see locations I have read about. I found both places quite haunting when thinking about what had happened years before.

mere
08-12-2005, 12:08 PM
My family and I just back from a trip to Maryland to see friends and they showed me what was Wheaton Plaza (different name and totally redone) and we went though the neighborhood, down Plyers Mill past the house, Drumm Ave etc. The area is just as Richard describes it, and it gives me a whole new insight to actually see where it all took place. We also drove though Cleveland, OH on the way and made the detour to see the park Beverly Potts(see thread below) vanished from and the home she lived in. One cannot realize what a small area she vanished in unless you go there. Other than those two stops our trip was a normal vacation but since we were in the areas I chose to see locations I have read about. I found both places quite haunting when thinking about what had happened years before.
Any theories you want to share?

joellegirl
08-12-2005, 01:00 PM
Any theories? Well, once thing I noticed is the area is more wooded than I pictured, not sure how it was then but probably not much different. The streets were very quiet, not alot of people around. Of course I have no idea of the activity level in the neighborhood in March 1975, but if the abductors were able to get the girls in a car quickly, I could see how it may have happened with no one noticing--no one in their yards, no one looking out their window at that point. I am going with the report that the girls were last seen walking along Drumm Ave, which even though there are alot of houses around, it was quiet. Even if they disappeared at the mall, with all the people around, they still could have been abducted with out anyone noticing. Most people are going about their business, distracted with all the sights and sounds of the mall etc. Unless the girls screamed,kick and fought or did something to break people out of their "shopping trance" their abduction could have gone unnoticed. I know it sounds hard to believe but there are so many cases of people vanishing in places one would think someone should have seen something. The same with Beverly Potts, who vanished from a crowded park the evening of Aug 24,1951 in Cleveland. My theory with her is she made it safely out of the park, but was abducted while walking home down her darkly lit street, most likely by a neighbor.




I guess I don't have any profoundly new theories. Maybe more will come as I process all that I saw in my mind and study my pictures more. It just is very interesting to see where these tragic events happened, where everything seems so normal and ordinary. Makes you realize nowhere is completley safe, no matter how safe it seems.

georgesgirl
08-14-2005, 04:26 PM
Directly behind Wheaton Plaza it was all woods in 1975 where the townhouses are now. Even if people were in their yards and if the TRM pulled up, since they had talked to him at the Plaza before, he was no longer a stranger. He could have easily convinced them to get in the car. If there were any witnesses, they would have thought it was a friend or relative who was picking them up for an innocent reason.

Richard
08-15-2005, 12:53 AM
Directly behind Wheaton Plaza it was all woods in 1975 where the townhouses are now. Even if people were in their yards and if the TRM pulled up, since they had talked to him at the Plaza before, he was no longer a stranger. He could have easily convinced them to get in the car. If there were any witnesses, they would have thought it was a friend or relative who was picking them up for an innocent reason.
You make a very good point. The hard thing to try to understand is an abductor getting not one, but two girls to go with him in his vehicle. A forceful grab would have required more than one person, whereas a guise to get them to enter his vehicle willingly would have been easier for a single abductor. The actions of Tape Recorder Man may well have been simply a guise to learn something about possible victims and put them at ease. Later, he could have called their names out on a seemingly safe residential street and offered them a ride - or perhaps he might have told them that he knew their parents and wanted to stop by and visit them, but had not been able to find their house, etc. You are probably correct to suspect the TRM as the abductor of the girls.

Jeb
08-17-2005, 08:42 PM
Even though this avenue has probably been checked, we should check with Montgomery County police to be sure.

It's possible that the plates were stolen (although bending a plate to that extreme seems a deliberate act of concealment). If the car was stolen, a police report should exist, unless it was destroyed over the years.

A quote from the Evening Capital dated 03/24/1980:

"Although police had the first four digits of the license plate - DMT6 - the search was hampered by the fact that 1975 was the first time in five years new plates had been issued and the numbers had not yet been recorded into the police department's computer. As a result, police were forced to check hundreds of possible number combinations by hand."

If the plate numbers were eventually entered into the computer records, either the witness got it wrong, a mistake was made, crucial information was lost in this process, or information was destroyed/forgotten.

Rick Kretschmer, a license plate collecter who grew up about 15 miles from Wheaton in the 70's, told me via email:

"So the DMT 600 series plate was without question a red-on-white plate issued during the month of March 1975. But since every single passenger car in the entire state had been issued new red-on-white plates during March 1975, there is no way to know from this license plate how long the vehicle had actually been registered in Maryland.

"I was thinking more about the DMT 600 series of plates being issued in multiple cities. It's certainly possible that these were sent out via mail rather than issued over the counter. Plates were issued both ways. I was focused on the over-the-counter method; if this series of plates was issued over the counter at an MVA office I would think that they would have all been issued in one place. However, many people sent their renewal applications by mail to the Glen Burnie HQ and received their plates back in the mail. If the box(es) of DMT 600 series plates were distributed this way, they probably would have been sent to motorists all over the state, not just to Baltimore, Cumberland, and Hagerstown. Perhaps there were plates issued to three different 1968 Ford station wagons in this series of 100 plates, located in these three cities. Maybe the cops just investigated these three vehicles, rather than all 100 vehicles in this series. If the bad guys had stolen the plate, it probably would have been reported. But if they simply switched it with the plate from another vehicle they had access to, no one would be the wiser."

I had contacted the Maryland Motor Vehicle office to inquire about these records, but was told that they would only talk to LE.

I wonder what types of cars were being driven by members of Fred Howard Coffey's family or by his friends/associates during this period?

FronkThis was a red on white tag. N.Carolina also had the same color tags for that year. Did MCP check out the N. Carolina tags of the DMT series? Fred COFFEY may have had N. Carolina tags at that time, since he has spent much of his life there.

Richard
08-17-2005, 11:39 PM
This was a red on white tag. N.Carolina also had the same color tags for that year. Did MCP check out the N. Carolina tags of the DMT series? Fred COFFEY may have had N. Carolina tags at that time, since he has spent much of his life there.
That is a good question and observation. Coffey had served in the Navy for 12 years from 1962 to September 1974. As an active duty service man, he could have registered his vehicle in one of several different states;
- Any state that he claimed as his home state of residence at the start of each enlistment.
- Any state that he was stationed in during those 12 years.

Coffey was stationed in the Norfolk, VA area for his first duty station, and again during his last duty station. It is known that he was living in the Virginia Beach, VA area just before and just after his Maryland stay. I believe that he claimed Bristol, VA as his home too.

It is known that Coffey was in North Carolina from about 1979 on, and may have had previous connections to that state as well.

Coffey had a van from at least 1979 until his arrest in 1987. Fiber and animal hairs were obtained from that van linking him to the murder of 10 year-old Amanda Ray. Not known when he first obtained that vehicle, or if he had it while in Maryland. It would be nice to know where it had been registered, and when & where he obtained it.

Usher737
08-18-2005, 01:27 PM
If he did have that van in MD, he could have used it to abduct the Lyons sisters.

Jeb
08-24-2005, 06:26 PM
If the MCP were unable, or haven`t investigated the DMT tags of NC. for that year,then we`ll never know. I doubt if the abductor would have been riding around with the 2 girls in his vehicle 2 wks. or so after the abduction. However, the news stations at that time, stated sightings in Alexandria, & the Dulles road. The 2 sightings I just quoted, only mentioned the beige station wagon, & nothing about the 2 girls. Also, if Fred Coffey is the man, then where were the 2 girls on 1Apr75 while Coffey was applying for the job at Vitro? One more thing of concern. Richard quoted 2 boys missing from NJ.,7Apr75. Is this a coincidence that the station wagon was spoted with the 2 victims 7Apr75 in Va? Maybe the witness was mistaken, & saw 2 boys in the station wagon.

Richard
08-25-2005, 11:47 AM
If the MCP were unable, or haven`t investigated the DMT tags of NC. for that year,then we`ll never know. I doubt if the abductor would have been riding around with the 2 girls in his vehicle 2 wks. or so after the abduction. However, the news stations at that time, stated sightings in Alexandria, & the Dulles road. The 2 sightings I just quoted, only mentioned the beige station wagon, & nothing about the 2 girls. Also, if Fred Coffey is the man, then where were the 2 girls on 1Apr75 while Coffey was applying for the job at Vitro? One more thing of concern. Richard quoted 2 boys missing from NJ.,7Apr75. Is this a coincidence that the station wagon was spoted with the 2 victims 7Apr75 in Va? Maybe the witness was mistaken, & saw 2 boys in the station wagon.
News releases from Montgomery County Police at the time indicated that they were in the process of checking other states - specifically including NC - for possible matches to the plates reported to be on the Beige Station Wagon.

You make a very valid point regarding the missing boys possibly being the children seen in the Beige Ford Station Wagon in Manassas. One would have to check on the time line of when the boys were last seen, and when the car was sighted to see if it is feasable.

The newspapers and TV picked up on that story and focussed everyones attention on it. Truckers and CB radio enthusiasts kept eyes out for it, and even pulled over persons driving cars of that description.

It is interesting to note that there was an earlier report of a suspected vehicle in the Washington Post, and that vehicle - also a Ford Station Wagon was only mentioned one time before all the hullabaloo about the Beige Ford Station Wagon started. That earlier report appeared in the last paragraph of a Post story on Friday, 4 April 1975 (page A-16). The story was about witness responses to other sightings of Tape Recorder Man, following release of the sketch, and how a second, revised sketch had been released. A reporter had interviewed Capt Charles Goddard, who headed a 16 man security force at Iverson Mall in Prince Georges County - where witnesses had claimed to have seen Tape Recorder Man on 22 March. Goddard stated that they were on the lookout for the suspect in the sketch, but they had not seen or detained anyone.

Goddard then added that "Montgomery County Police had told him, in connection with the Lyon search, to be on the lookout for a blue Falcon station wagon covered with stickers and slogans, including a bumper sticker from Walt Disney's Florida resort known as Disneyworld."

There was never any explanation why this Blue Falcon (a Ford model) was being sought.

Regarding Fred Coffey's employment with Vitro: He did interview with them on 1 April 1975, and was subsequently hired by them. He did not, however, begin work until 24 April 1975. It is possible and indeed likely that he also applied and interviewed for similar work at other places in the interim. It would be interesting to know if he was in New Jersey on or about 7 April.

The full title of his employer was: Vitro Laboratories Division of Automation Industries Inc. In 1975, their offices were located at 13900 Connecticut Ave, Silver Spring, MD. They specialized in Defense Contracting for the Navy.

Richard
09-16-2005, 11:35 AM
Goddard then added that "Montgomery County Police had told him, in connection with the Lyon search, to be on the lookout for a blue Falcon station wagon covered with stickers and slogans, including a bumper sticker from Walt Disney's Florida resort known as Disneyworld."

There was never any explanation why this Blue Falcon (a Ford model) was being sought.
A friend of mine who has researched and restored several Ford Falcons over the years sent me the following information regarding Ford Falcon Station Wagons:

Falcon was made from 60 to 73 and had satation wagons every year.The last Falcons made tho were on the Torino body style.

The 68 was probobly the least polular Falcon because of it's larger design. It does resemble Fords of other models.

The SW was built on the Fairlane chassis since 66 . There was a sameness on the rear. They used the same front sheet metal on all 68s.

If the blue Falcon Station Wagon actually belonged to the TRM suspect, then it is quite possible that the subsequent sighting of a Beige 1968 Ford Station Wagon could have been the same car - either repainted, or perhaps with a replacement tailgate, or covered in road dust, giving it a "beige" appearance.

shadowangel
09-16-2005, 08:22 PM
Richard-I'm just thinking out loud here...Did any of the children who spoke to the Tape Recorder Man mention any type of accent? I'm wondering if the "DTM" plate could be a diplomatic plate. In most states, they carry the format "D" for diplomat, then a two-letter code for the country (the codes had nothing to do with the country's name, to keep the diplomats from being targeted-as I remember, the Soviet Union was "FC"). The person being a Foreign National would fit some of what's known...For example, approaching the girls he spoke to, the conversation could go "My English isn't very good, could you record a message for me?" It would explain how he seemingly disappeared, and could explain why the person was not known in the community.

Richard
09-16-2005, 10:43 PM
Richard-I'm just thinking out loud here...Did any of the children who spoke to the Tape Recorder Man mention any type of accent? I'm wondering if the "DTM" plate could be a diplomatic plate. In most states, they carry the format "D" for diplomat, then a two-letter code for the country (the codes had nothing to do with the country's name, to keep the diplomats from being targeted-as I remember, the Soviet Union was "FC"). The person being a Foreign National would fit some of what's known...For example, approaching the girls he spoke to, the conversation could go "My English isn't very good, could you record a message for me?" It would explain how he seemingly disappeared, and could explain why the person was not known in the community.
That is an interesting thought. I note that you are linking two separate incidents which may or may not have been linked in reality. First is the Tape Recorder Man character seen at a number of malls and shopping centers prior to the Lyon Sisters 25 March 1975 disappearance, and second is a reported sighting of two children on 7 April 1975 in a 1968 Ford Station Wagon traveling through Manassas, VA.

I have not heard of anyone saying that Tape Recorder Man had any kind of accent, and I would think that something like a foreign accent would have made him stand out. The only direct witness accounts that I have seen state that they could not hear much of what he was saying to Sheila and Katherine, except for one question overheard asking them if they liked sports. A sales girl at one of the Prince Georges County malls remembered being told something by TRM like, "Gee you have a nice voice. I like the sound of a woman's voice. Would you read an answering machine message for me." She and other girls approached in a similar manner all said that they declined his offer, but none mentioned any foreign accents.

TRM was actually seen at a number of different shopping centers talking to young girls - usually in the afternoon hours. Sightings of TRM (or of an individual who resembled the TRM sketch) occurred at Wheaton Plaza on 28 Feb, 1 March, 24 March, and 25 March. He was seen at Iverson Mall and Marlow Heights shopping center (adjacent malls in Prince Georges County) on 22 March. He was seen at the Sears Store in White Oak shopping center (Montgomery county) in February or March, and at a mall in Bowie, MD on an undisclosed date prior to 25 March. TRM got around and likely owned a vehicle of some sort.

When the Lyon Sisters disappeared, so did Tape Recorder Man. If this character was a harmless guy, wouldn't he have been seen doing his thing in the days which followed? Remember that the girls disappearance was widely reported, but still there was a lag time between when the girls vanished and the press jumping on the story. Also, the story of police looking for the TRM suspect was not in any papers until a whole week had passed. Then all the witnesses who had seen TRM came forward with stories - but NONE of them had seen him after the afternoon of 25 March. And with the entire area looking for the TRM in the days and weeks which followed, he never surfaced.

I do not mean to imply that the perpetrator actually left the area immediately - he may have left town, or not - but he certainly never appeared again
in his role as TRM.

Regarding Diplomatic plates, I wonder if any embassy would have had a 7 year-old Ford Station Wagon as part of their diplomatic motor pool fleet.

shadowangel
09-17-2005, 08:33 AM
I may believe in ghosts, UFOs, and the tooth fairy, but one thing I don't believe in is coincidence. What this person was doing is classic victim fishing...from Megan Kanka's killer who lured her with promises of playing with his new puppy, to Ted Bundy and his use of a fake cast to garner sympathy, pedophiles and the like are..."creative".
I have to wonder if the Lyons were a target, or at least the inspiration for what this man was doing. Their father was well-known, could the TR Man have been using a ruse involving a message for use on the radio?
As to the diplomatic plates, aren't they also issued to privately-owned vehicles? There is also the possibility that the plate was stolen, would the individual consulate bother to report it? I'm just thinking of the proximity to DC, diplomatic plates have to be a fairly common sight...

Richard
09-17-2005, 07:07 PM
I may believe in ghosts, UFOs, and the tooth fairy, but one thing I don't believe in is coincidence. What this person was doing is classic victim fishing...from Megan Kanka's killer who lured her with promises of playing with his new puppy, to Ted Bundy and his use of a fake cast to garner sympathy, pedophiles and the like are..."creative".
I have to wonder if the Lyons were a target, or at least the inspiration for what this man was doing. Their father was well-known, could the TR Man have been using a ruse involving a message for use on the radio?
As to the diplomatic plates, aren't they also issued to privately-owned vehicles? There is also the possibility that the plate was stolen, would the individual consulate bother to report it? I'm just thinking of the proximity to DC, diplomatic plates have to be a fairly common sight...
I personally think that you are correct about TRM fishing for victims. He may have used other ruses and methods as well, but in his role as Tape Recorder Man, he was definitely making contact with young girls, and seemingly in a regular pattern. I think that if police were to go through all of their witness statements and put together a time-line, description, and profile of this suspect, they will have a very clear picture of him.

A big question in the Lyon Case is whether the girls were specifically targeted, or if they might have been random victims. Only the perpetrator knows the true answer to that. TRM was seen speaking to girls of different ages from about four years old, up to 16 or 17 years of age. Maybe he had a specific age or look in mind, but I tend to think that he was looking more for the circumstances and opportunity being to his liking before he acted.

I live in Maryland, and can tell you that we do see Diplomatic plates, but they are much more in evidence in downtown "DC". I do not know what their format or pattern or color was in 1975, however, and cannot say if they fit the description given of three letters followed by three numbers and in the color of Red on white. Maryland did have that color and format in 1975, as did several other states.

shadowangel
09-19-2005, 09:31 AM
I can't find any information on diplomatic codes from that time period...The code "TM" is now the code for Iceland. (Well, I was just thinking out loud anyway...) However, the plate format was correct, 3 letters, a break, then 3 numbers. BTW, do you know the age of consent in Iceland for a girl is 14????

In March of '86, LE announced that they were looking into a 41 year-old suspect who may have been in the area who had a long record of arrests involving children. Would this have been Hadden Clark?

Richard
09-19-2005, 10:08 AM
In March of '86, LE announced that they were looking into a 41 year-old suspect who may have been in the area who had a long record of arrests involving children. Would this have been Hadden Clark?
Hadden Clark would have been in his mid 30's in 1986, and that was about the time that he kidnapped and murdered little Michele Dorr. He was considered a possible suspect in Michelle's disappearance early on, but not because of any known crimes against other children - only because he lived a couple doors down from her. He was indeed from Montgomery County, Maryland and would have been in his early 20's when the Lyon Sisters disappeared.

It is more likely that the newspaper article was referring to MCP interest in Fred Howard Coffey Jr, who turned 41 in March 1986, and who, by that time, had several convictions for molesting children in Virginia and North Carolina. In 1987, Coffey was being tried for the murder of 10-year-old Amanda Ray in NC, and MCP interest in him was much increased.

Coffey was indeed in the Wheaton, Maryland area in Spring of 1975. He interviewed for a job with Vitro Laboratories on 1 April 1975, began work with them later that month, and left suddenly in late July 1975.

shadowangel
09-19-2005, 10:19 AM
Thanks for clearing that up. I read your profiles on some of the primary characters. I read up on Clark, and his involvement in Dorr's death and also the death of a 22 year-old (?) from New England (I didn't take my usual notes, but I'm sure you know who this young girl was). Both he and Coffey are scary characters...Clark claimed more victims in the New England area, did anything come of these claims?

An interesting sideline to the disappearance of Michelle Dorr...news reports stated the father suffered a "psychotic episode" and claimed he killed Michelle. Carl Dorr was seperated from his wife, and little Michelle was visiting him-she disappeared while playing in a wading pool outside while Carl was inside watching football.

Mr. E
09-20-2005, 09:24 PM
I think the father confessed because of the intensive interviewing he endured. At first he lied about the last time that he saw Michelle. He was so beaten down by the police interrogations that he finally said, "Ok, if you said I did it, maybe I did it." Imagining the guilt and worry and craziness over Michelle that he was feeling at the time, it doesn't surprise me that he said that.

Sorry to go off topic.

Richard
09-28-2005, 09:52 AM
I think the father confessed because of the intensive interviewing he endured. At first he lied about the last time that he saw Michelle. He was so beaten down by the police interrogations that he finally said, "Ok, if you said I did it, maybe I did it." Imagining the guilt and worry and craziness over Michelle that he was feeling at the time, it doesn't surprise me that he said that. Sorry to go off topic.
Mr. Dorr was subjected to very intense interrogation and was obviously under a lot of stress following his daughter's disappearance. Later investigation pointed to the perpetrator being Haden Clark, who was in prison for the later abduction and murder of a young woman.

Clark was prosecuted, based on traces of Michelle's blood found in the house two doors down from her residence - a house in which Haden Clark had lived with his brother's family at the time of her disappearance. In a rare instance where a person was prosecuted for murder without a body, Clark was found guilty. Prior to sentencing, he led Montgomery County Police to where he had buried Michelle's body 12 years before.

During and after Clark's trial, a person who provided much support to Mr. Dorr was John Lyon, father of Sheila and Kate.

Kensingtonnative
09-29-2005, 03:17 PM
I found this site on a whim and found the subject of the Lyon Sisters. I am from Kensington and lived there most of my life. I graduated high school with Sheila and Kate's brother Joe. The Lyon family and my family went to the same pool. I even attended the same elementary school up until 2nd grade with the Lyon siblings. I remember when they were kidnapped. Our suddenly "innocent" town was gone. Our parents kept a close eye on us. It was even harder for the families like mine that knew the Lyons because it hit a lot closer to home than just happening in the same town. It still haunts me sometimes, mostly when dealing with my own kids because I try to be so careful with them. I moved from Kensington 3 years ago to Charlotte - coincidentally where one of the main suspects happens to have kidnapped and molested a child. Kensington and Wheaton are no longer the same as they were 30 years ago. Neighbors are too busy with their lives to get to know each other. Wheaton Plaza (Now Westfield Shoppingtown or whatever at Wheaton) is full of gangs. Einstein HS which was a very average high school is now one of the bottom 3 and more than 40% of the student population is on the reduced meals program. You're lucky if you can get an english speaking server at the McDonalds across the street from Wheaton Plaza and crime overall is no longer a stranger to Kensington itself. Heck, it even made national news with the sniper attacks 3 years ago. I get very sad when I go back home to visit because it's not the same place. I don't know what's become of Joe. We had our 20 year HS reunion last year, but he didn't attend. I remember him as very quiet in HS. I don't know whether that was just who he was or whether it was a sadness that hung over he and his family after his sisters disappeared. I always wanted to tell him how sorry I was, but back then you just kept it to yourself. Our parents may have been more cautious about where we went, but no one, not them, the schools, anyone ever really talked about it. I keep hoping the family could have some closure, even just finding skeletal remains so they can bury them. I would really love to hear some day that they have been found alive. That the person who took them raised them telling them some story about their parents not wanting them anymore or something stupid like that, and they have been living on the west coast all of this time unaware of the drama that took place 30 years ago in that small obscure town just outside of one of the world's most powerful cities. Here's hoping to happy and unbelievable endings!

h0db
10-01-2005, 12:15 AM
I live in Kensington now, have for the past 20 years, and both my kids go to Einstein HS. Yes, the area has become more diverse, but it's not quite the hell hole you seem to think. Einstein HS is much improved in just the past five years, in the upper half now on standardized test in one of the best school systems in the country--rated 318 nationwide in the recent Newsweek survey based on the number of kids taking AP exams. This year, Einstein HS instituted their International Baccalaureate program. There are a lot of hispanic immigrants in the area now, but this is true across much of the country, and the vast majority seem to be among the hardest working, most decent people you'll ever meet.

McDonalds recently began "outsourcing" their drive-through ordering in much of the country-- the voice you hear will usually have a standard American accent, but that person isn't inside the restaurant-- they're in a call center, sometimes hundreds of miles away, keying the order over the internet where it is read back at the restuarant where you're ordering--this reduces errors. Who do you think McDonalds is going to hire for minimum wage these days?

As for the rest, well, welcome to the 21st Century in the US of A. It's true that you can't go home again. Rest assured, however, that we still have strong communities and neighborhoods--and Kenmont pool is still a great place to meet your neighbors (formerly Wheaton Woods, I think, but it's the community pool right next to Wheaton plaza--nobody calls it Westfields whatever...

Richard
10-01-2005, 09:37 AM
...McDonalds recently began "outsourcing" their drive-through ordering in much of the country-- the voice you hear will usually have a standard American accent, but that person isn't inside the restaurant-- they're in a call center, sometimes hundreds of miles away, keying the order over the internet where it is read back at the restuarant where you're ordering--this reduces errors. Who do you think McDonalds is going to hire for minimum wage these days? ...
Two flaws in this great idea:
1. Computer uplinks will not always be working or might have a delay. You might get some order that the guy two cars ahead of you asked for.
2. The same people that can't speak English or make change usually can't read, either! Maybe the computer screen will draw pictures for them.

I worked for McDonalds back in 1970 as a "Counter Man/Cashier", and have seen the quality of personnel they hire go downhill over the years. We used to have a window between us and the customers (back then there was no inside dining), and I got to be pretty good at reading lips in various accents and dialects. Today you usually have to tell the person at the counter more than once what you want, and half the time they still get it wrong. And if the computer didn't tell them what change to give you, and even count out the coins, they would be completely lost.

Kensingtonnative
10-01-2005, 09:42 AM
Not to get off of the subject of what this is about, but I never said Kensington is a Hell Hole. I was just saying it is not the same as it was 30 years ago. I am very well aware that things change. As for the outsourcing, I was just at that McDonald's in July, it was a live human being I dealt with the whole time. I am not blaming the workers, I know they are hard working decent people, it is the management who put them there. It is frustrating living in a country where the official language is English, but you can't find someone who understands you. (My father and his parents and siblings came to this country as immigrants - so I'm not predjudiced, but they learned to assimilate) Kenmont has always been called Kenmont. Wheaton Woods was a pool in an entirely different neighborhood. I am glad that Einstein has much improved, but again I was pointing out that it is not the same as it was when I graduated. You have lived there 20 years, I lived there my whole life up until 3 years ago (that's 36 years) and my family is still there, I think I'm quite qualified to say the town I grew up in, in many ways is unrecognizable.

Please, from this point on, lets just keep our postings about the subject at hand, shall we?

Richard
10-12-2005, 08:56 AM
Kensington and Wheaton have changed significantly over the past 30 years. Not so much in where houses, swimming pools, and roads are located, but they have changed in many ways just as they have throughout the whole country.

About a year ago, I visited the town where I grew up as a kid from age 1 to age 11. I had not seen it in 35 years. I would say that about 90 percent of the houses that stood when I was a child were still there, but instead of being mostly painted white, with a few brick houses here and there (with white trim) all were painted every imaginable color. The yards were all nicely trimmed and had shrubbery, flowers, and garden decorations everywhere. Of course, back when I was kid, there were a few homes that had nice gardens, but mostly it was just lawns to mow and walk across. Every house seemed to have three or four vehicles associated with it, and it seemed that at least one SUV or Pick Up Truck was needed for every residence. I don't recall anyone in town owning a Pick Up back in the 1950's. Back then a home had one telephone attatched by a cord to the wall, one family car, and one television set.

Most of the downtown buildings were still there as well, but the business of the town had changed compeltely. Now everyone goes to a mall somewhere to buy clothing, groceries, appliances, etc. and as a result, all of the individually owned businesses of that nature had disappeared. One now can find scented candle shops, art stores, and a lot of restaurants where other businesses once stood. Where the "outskirts" of town were 30 or 40 years ago are the National franchise fast food places and large corporation owned Gas stations, etc that you can see in any town in the country today.

I found on my visit that on the surface it was the same town, and very nicely preserved in many ways, but what I noticed as the biggest change was that there were no people to be seen anywhere. And no kids. It was August, and my memories of that time of year were that there were always people out on porches or putting up laundry, or mowing grass, out walking or visiting with neighbors outside. Above all, kids were playing outside everywhere - riding bikes, playing baseball, running. Not today. Air Conditioning, Cable TV, Video Games, and the Internet all seem to keep everyone inside their own house. Walking around that town, I was completely alone.

Back in the 1950's and 60's, and into the 1970's, everybody knew who their neighbors were and whose kids were whose. If you did something you shouldn't, you could bet that your mother probably knew about it before you got home. I can't say that my mother did not worry about where we were or where we went, but I think that mothers today must have a lot more apprehension about letting children go out on their own.

joellegirl
10-12-2005, 11:13 AM
Very well said, Richard. I was born in 1967 and I have memories very similar as you have described of my hometown and my childhood. All of the neighbors knowing one another, running in and out of each other's houses, exploring the neighborhood, playing" Kick the Can". My parents were more over protective than most, yet I still had way more freedom than I let my children have. My children are all under the age of 5 1/2 and when they go outside here it's in our backyard (with swingset etc and me or my husband out there)riding toys on the driveway or a walk to the park with us.. I notice older children running around (without their parents on their heels), say age 8 or so. I'm not sure when I will feel comfortable letting mine do that. I must say the neighborhood I live in is a rare one-it actually is as close as you can get to the neighborhoods of the 50's. 60's and 70s. I do know most of my neighbors. I get the mail and paper for them when they are away, we watch each other houses. We have a annual picnic every summer.Children play in each other yards, but they are older and I don't see it as much as we did when we were young.. I do see them riding bikes, but it is much closer to their homes, not far off on the next block. After the bus picks up my kindergartener, I stay with the middle school neighbor girls while they wait for their bus,(same bus stop) so they aren't alone. Their mothers, who have to work, appreciate that I do that.

Of course as we all know from reading about all these cold cases, is bad things did happen when we were children, abductions aren't something that started with Elizabeth Smart. Janice Pockett was just a year and half older than me, and like her, I rode my bike around the neighborhood. The Lyon's sisters were just 3 and 5 years older than me and we used to walk to the store a few blocks away, just like them.. Never alone until much older, but the Lyons sisters weren't "alone" either. There were two of them and it still happened.

This summer while on vacation in Maryland, I visited the old Wheaton Plaza and the saw the house and neighborhood the Lyon's sisters lived and the street they were last seen. The neighborhood still seemed well kept, just no one was around and it was a nice Sunday in July. The mall was a little run down but not too bad, though I didn't see the whole thing and I know it looks nothing like it did in 1975.. Seemed pretty crowded as we drove through the parking lots. Very interesting to see the area, though.

sleuthin4fun
10-12-2005, 11:43 AM
I don't know about the rest of you but, it makes me sad that our children will never really experience the carefree days of youth. I grew up in Virginia. When the Lyon sisters were abducted I was 10 years old. I lived in a nice neighborhood on a culdesac. There were children everywhere. We spent all of our time outside. We rode bikes, built forts in the woods, went fishing at a nearby lake and even walked about a mile for pizza. As children we spent our evenings catching fireflys and playing kick ball. We were outside way after dark. Never did I feel afraid or unsafe. It is such a tragedy that children these days don't know what it really feels like to be young and carefree.

joellegirl
10-12-2005, 12:13 PM
I don't know about the rest of you but, it makes me sad that our children will never really experience the carefree days of youth. I grew up in Virginia. When the Lyon sisters were abducted I was 10 years old. I lived in a nice neighborhood on a culdesac. There were children everywhere. We spent all of our time outside. We rode bikes, built forts in the woods, went fishing at a nearby lake and even walked about a mile for pizza. As children we spent our evenings catching fireflys and playing kick ball. We were outside way after dark. Never did I feel afraid or unsafe. It is such a tragedy that children these days don't know what it really feels like to be young and carefree.

I completely agree. I feel bad that my children probably won't have as carefree childhood as I did. I try to make it up by letting them have lots of outside time and they seem happy so far. They were out after dark catching fireflys this past summer, but it was in our yard, not two houses down as it may have been in my childhood.I know what you mean about exploring the nearby creek, walking to a friends house a block away, riding bikes to the store to buy candy...I remember us playing in the nearby cornfield for hours,hiding and making forts! My brother and his friends all camping out in tents in the empty lot across the street.I try to keep this all in mind, but it is so hard. Mine are still quite young, but when they are 8 or 9 or 10 I don't think they will be content with only their yard or the very next one. I will take it as it comes. We are just so much more aware these days, that is the difference. Can you imagine if Fox News was around when the Lyon's girls vanished?

I know we heard of bad stuff then, and it may have made us afraid for a while, but then we went back to our old ways. Today it is just one story after another, every night. We are bombarded with how unsafe a world it is for our children( and it wasn't as safe as we thought back then as we've all said). Very sad, I agree.

Mr. E
10-12-2005, 12:18 PM
As has already been stated, I think our world has changed, but bad things happened even when we were kids and played happily in our neighborhoods, seemingly without worry. Today, with internet and cable and 24-hr news stations, we know what is happening in towns across the nation -- across the world. So if a child is abducted and missing, even if it is nowhere near us, we know.

I, too, used to play outside and not have my parents supervising my every move. The rule in our house was that we had to be in before dark. We used to have discussions about what "dark" was -- pitch black? dusk? We'd walk to the candy store -- having to cross a busy street to get there -- alone (with brothers, sisters, friends, but no adults). We walked to school alone. I remember walking home from kindergarten at noon! My mom would be waiting for me at home, watching her soaps.

I remember at my grandparents' house one summer, a car stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride. I was about 9. My grandparents lived in a secluded mountain area. There was no one else around. I was walking from where I had been swimming (alone) in their creek. I said no to the ride; the driver and passenger, a woman and man I thought were old, but were probably in their late 30s, persisted and persisted. Finally I pointed to my grandparents' house, which was just a few yards away but hidden behind some trees. I said, "I'm just going there," and they sped away. Probably innocent, but who knows. Why try to give a 9yo kid a ride on a secluded road? Especially after the kid says no the first time?

A few years later Ricky Barnett disappeared from a nearby town. My grandpa always thought he wandered away and animals got him. I always thought somebody just took him . . .

smile22
10-13-2005, 09:25 AM
As has already been stated, I think our world has changed, but bad things happened even when we were kids and played happily in our neighborhoods, seemingly without worry. Today, with internet and cable and 24-hr news stations, we know what is happening in towns across the nation -- across the world. So if a child is abducted and missing, even if it is nowhere near us, we know.

I, too, used to play outside and not have my parents supervising my every move. The rule in our house was that we had to be in before dark. We used to have discussions about what "dark" was -- pitch black? dusk? We'd walk to the candy store -- having to cross a busy street to get there -- alone (with brothers, sisters, friends, but no adults). We walked to school alone. I remember walking home from kindergarten at noon! My mom would be waiting for me at home, watching her soaps.

I remember at my grandparents' house one summer, a car stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride. I was about 9. My grandparents lived in a secluded mountain area. There was no one else around. I was walking from where I had been swimming (alone) in their creek. I said no to the ride; the driver and passenger, a woman and man I thought were old, but were probably in their late 30s, persisted and persisted. Finally I pointed to my grandparents' house, which was just a few yards away but hidden behind some trees. I said, "I'm just going there," and they sped away. Probably innocent, but who knows. Why try to give a 9yo kid a ride on a secluded road? Especially after the kid says no the first time?

A few years later Ricky Barnett disappeared from a nearby town. My grandpa always thought he wandered away and animals got him. I always thought somebody just took him . . .



your just lucky one of them didnt get out of the car if they intended to hurt you and grab you i guess they werent pros at it.my parents are from that time ( im 24) and told me that they would sleep with the doors unlocked and they would go places with friends and it was like they never had to worry. now you cant even let ur child go somwhere without adults watching you

mere
10-13-2005, 09:38 AM
I grew up in New Jersey in the early 80s and even then we would roam the neighborhood. Your parents never felt that they had to be watching you because there was always neighbors outside. On the other hand we were always warned of strangers. I even remember having a board game called Don't Talk To Strangers. I lived in a safe neighborhood, but there was a man spotted several times trying to lure neighborhood kids into his van. Nothing ever happened though. The kids knew to say no and run to find an adult.

mere
10-18-2005, 10:56 AM
The fact that no trace of the girls has turned up in the past 30 years has frustrated police and investigators. There were some very intensive searches conducted in 1975 in the days, weeks, and months following the girls disappearance. The newspapers are full of stories about those searches, although they do not always specify what areas exactly were searched. Police files probably contain more detailed maps and reports of areas searched, but that in itself is speculation.

The Washington DC metropolitan area, which includes Counties in Maryland and Northern Virginia actually has many rural and remote wooded areas where someone could dispose of a body. The suburbs continue to expand and development is destroying much rural farm land, but there are still a lot natural wooded areas, wetlands, and parks throughout the area.

A look at many of the John/Jane Doe cases throughout the country indicates that most of those unidentified bodies were NOT buried, but rather simply left where they died, or dumped in remote areas. Some of them (but definitely a minority of the cases) were buried in shallow graves.

The case for which Fred Coffey was convicted involved a little girl whose body was left in the open in a wooded area, near a body of water. This was also the case in a few other cases in which he is the prime suspect. That, however, does not preclude the possibility that he might have buried other victims.What you are saying is that if a victim is buried it is not likely they would ever be found?

Richard
10-18-2005, 12:35 PM
What you are saying is that if a victim is buried it is not likely they would ever be found?
No, I am not saying that at all. I only mean that most bodies of John and Jane Does are found on the surface, rather than by digging up a grave.

While burial may hide the victim from the casual passer by, it does preserve the remains better, as it keeps preditors and the elements from scattering them. The problem is that after only a short time, the gravesite looks pretty much like all the surrounding land. This makes it extremely hard to find. Those John and Jane Does who are found in shallow graves are usually found "accidentally" by workers digging a utility trench, or foundation.

There are methods which can be used to locate graves, such as aerial infrared photography, cadaver dogs, in-ground radar, dowsing, and probing. Sometimes a grave can be seen visually as a sunken area, a mound, or a difference in vegetation. These methods, in and of themselves, usually are not considered sufficient evidence necessary to obtain a search warrant.

Such methods give indications of anomalies which MIGHT be a grave, or might be something else. Unfortunately, sometimes follow-up methods used to try to confirm a possible grave are not always reliable.

As an example, land developers and builders might be confronted by persons who claim that there is an old unmarked cemetery on the property. The developer must conduct tests to confirm whether or not there are graves in the area where he wishes to dig or build. A standard practice is to hire an archaeoligist with a bulldozer to scrape the surface of the land and look for "grave shafts". The theory is that when the grave was dug, a disturbance was created, and the soil which is put back is of different color or substance from soil near the surface. Thus, when peeling back the top soil, a clear indication of a rectangular grave shaft should be evident.

This works sometimes, but not always. Recently, when speaking with an Archaeologist about this subject, he mentioned a case in the past year where in-ground radar indicated a strong anomaly. Probing indicated a possible coffin about four or five feet down. During the entire dig, there was no evidence of any stratification of soil and no indication that there was any kind of a "grave shaft". Upon hitting what appeared to be a hollow sounding coffin, they found a box which had a plastic bag attatched with duct tape, and inside the bag was a handwritten note.

The note was dated 1995, and it stated that this was the body of a pet dog. It requested that, if located, it be re-buried somewhere else. So, here was a case where the grave had been there for just under ten years, but there was absolutely no evidence of the grave until they actually dug up the coffin.

The state of preservation of a body when exhumed from a grave will vary considerably, depending on many factors. First and formost is the condition of the grave itself - such as type of soil and presence or absence of water. The depth of the grave, presence or absence of trees or other plants, presence of burrowing animals, type of insects present, etc all have an effect on the body. When body is wrapped in a carpet, tarp, or blanket, or if it is in a container of some type, remains and possible evidence are better preserved.

An interesting historical commentary on this can be found in the report of Dr. Samuel Weaver to the Governor of Pennsylvania upon the removal of Union Soldiers from Gettysburg battlefield and hospital graves to the new (in 1863) Soldiers Cemetery in Gettysburg. Samuel Weaver supervised all of the grave openings and reinterrments personally. He made attempts to identify some 5,098 Union soldiers, as well as many Confederate soldiers, who were usually reburied in their same battlefield grave when discovered. His report includes condition of many bodies, descriptions of items found, etc. He notes that some bodies were remarkably well preserved and recognizable, while in the same amount of time, others were completely skeletonized.

In regard to the Lyon Sisters, I feel very strongly that the case can still be solved, and have hope that the girls will some day be found.

mere
10-19-2005, 02:52 PM
Lets say skeletal remains were found, but cause of death could not be determined. It could be listed as suspicious vs. homicide. At that point would the investigation come to a close?

shadowangel
10-19-2005, 04:43 PM
That would depend on several factors-departmental policy, the circumstances of the recovery...In most cases, such remains would be listed as "cause of death undetermined", and the case would remain open. Indefinitely. However, the trend is for departments to close these cases after a set period unless there is some indication of foul play. Skeletal remains found in a shallow grave, of fairly recent vintage, with an undetermined cause of death, would most likely be carried as open.

mere
10-19-2005, 05:08 PM
No, I am not saying that at all. I only mean that most bodies of John and Jane Does are found on the surface, rather than by digging up a grave.

While burial may hide the victim from the casual passer by, it does preserve the remains better, as it keeps preditors and the elements from scattering them. The problem is that after only a short time, the gravesite looks pretty much like all the surrounding land. This makes it extremely hard to find. Those John and Jane Does who are found in shallow graves are usually found "accidentally" by workers digging a utility trench, or foundation.

There are methods which can be used to locate graves, such as aerial infrared photography, cadaver dogs, in-ground radar, dowsing, and probing. Sometimes a grave can be seen visually as a sunken area, a mound, or a difference in vegetation. These methods, in and of themselves, usually are not considered sufficient evidence necessary to obtain a search warrant.

Such methods give indications of anomalies which MIGHT be a grave, or might be something else. Unfortunately, sometimes follow-up methods used to try to confirm a possible grave are not always reliable.

As an example, land developers and builders might be confronted by persons who claim that there is an old unmarked cemetery on the property. The developer must conduct tests to confirm whether or not there are graves in the area where he wishes to dig or build. A standard practice is to hire an archaeoligist with a bulldozer to scrape the surface of the land and look for "grave shafts". The theory is that when the grave was dug, a disturbance was created, and the soil which is put back is of different color or substance from soil near the surface. Thus, when peeling back the top soil, a clear indication of a rectangular grave shaft should be evident.

This works sometimes, but not always. Recently, when speaking with an Archaeologist about this subject, he mentioned a case in the past year where in-ground radar indicated a strong anomaly. Probing indicated a possible coffin about four or five feet down. During the entire dig, there was no evidence of any stratification of soil and no indication that there was any kind of a "grave shaft". Upon hitting what appeared to be a hollow sounding coffin, they found a box which had a plastic bag attatched with duct tape, and inside the bag was a handwritten note.

The note was dated 1995, and it stated that this was the body of a pet dog. It requested that, if located, it be re-buried somewhere else. So, here was a case where the grave had been there for just under ten years, but there was absolutely no evidence of the grave until they actually dug up the coffin.

The state of preservation of a body when exhumed from a grave will vary considerably, depending on many factors. First and formost is the condition of the grave itself - such as type of soil and presence or absence of water. The depth of the grave, presence or absence of trees or other plants, presence of burrowing animals, type of insects present, etc all have an effect on the body. When body is wrapped in a carpet, tarp, or blanket, or if it is in a container of some type, remains and possible evidence are better preserved.

An interesting historical commentary on this can be found in the report of Dr. Samuel Weaver to the Governor of Pennsylvania upon the removal of Union Soldiers from Gettysburg battlefield and hospital graves to the new (in 1863) Soldiers Cemetery in Gettysburg. Samuel Weaver supervised all of the grave openings and reinterrments personally. He made attempts to identify some 5,098 Union soldiers, as well as many Confederate soldiers, who were usually reburied in their same battlefield grave when discovered. His report includes condition of many bodies, descriptions of items found, etc. He notes that some bodies were remarkably well preserved and recognizable, while in the same amount of time, others were completely skeletonized.

In regard to the Lyon Sisters, I feel very strongly that the case can still be solved, and have hope that the girls will some day be found.
Thanks Shadowangel. For this case to be solved what would need to happen?
What kind of physical evidence could still exist after all these years?

shadowangel
10-19-2005, 06:40 PM
The only things I can forsee happening...A credible confession leading to the remains; locating the remains, with some strong indication (ie, the remains being found buried under someone's shed) of who the killer was or is; clothing being located with some DNA (it is possible) still intact; or someone confessing with knowledge of details that the police never released (ie, one of the girls had began menstruating); the finding of photos linking an individual to the crime. Not too many other scenarios, and as in all other cases all depend on the locating of some as-yet unknown evidence.

docwho3
10-19-2005, 10:06 PM
I found an entry in a live journal that disturbed me a bit since it involved "a dream" of using a tape recorder to kidnap & rape people. It reminded me of those profile lessons I read on another site that said that some serial types have fantasies of a similar nature. Scroll down to where a post begins with "i just had a rather demented dream."

Of course it could just be the plot from some old movie or book I haven't seen. I include the link in case anyone thinks it might be of use.
http://www.livejournal.com/users/jamiroquai/

Richard
10-19-2005, 11:24 PM
The only things I can forsee happening...A credible confession leading to the remains; locating the remains, with some strong indication (ie, the remains being found buried under someone's shed) of who the killer was or is; clothing being located with some DNA (it is possible) still intact; or someone confessing with knowledge of details that the police never released (ie, one of the girls had began menstruating); the finding of photos linking an individual to the crime. Not too many other scenarios, and as in all other cases all depend on the locating of some as-yet unknown evidence.
It is also entirely possible that evidence which was gathered against a suspect in a similar case might turn out to also contain evidence in the Lyon case. Sometimes a relative or acquaintence of the perpetrator might run across items, photos, tapes, etc which can lead to an arrest.

A confession would be nice, but usually they don't just happen - rather, they have to be sought and bargained for. For instance, if a suspect were to be facing the death penalty in another crime, he might be offered a deal of a Life sentence in exchange for full disclosure in other cases.

Richard
11-01-2005, 09:42 AM
I spoke with Mongomery County Police investigators recently regarding the case of the missing Lyon Sisters. They were interested in some of the information that I had found, and were very open in answering my questions.

While they did not volunteer a lot of extra information, they did discuss a couple of things that had been mentioned in this forum, particularly about the Tape Recorder Man, and about a newspaper report and description of an alleged suspect vehicle.

They feel that the Tape Recorder Man, may very well be a significant factor in the case. Although other clues and leads were pursued over the years, he has always remained a focus of their investigation.

I asked about the reported sightings of TRM in Prince Georges County, Maryland just prior to the Lyon girls disappearance, and was told that in April 1975, after those sightings were reported in the papers, an individual came forward and "confessed" to having been at the shopping centers in PG county with a tape recorder trying to get girls to speak into his microphone.

HOWEVER, he claimed to never have done that in Montgomery County. And he had a perfect alibi for not being at Wheaton Plaza on the date and time of the Lyon sisters' disappearance: He was involved in a traffic accident with a government vehicle and in the hospital at that time.

Investigators never released that information to the press. This individual was a family man with a wife and children, and he claimed to be embarrassed about what he had done, and did not want to endanger his family by having the word get out.

An interesting story, but was it true? Were there really TWO lone nuts out there doing exactly the same thing with tape recorders? Who looked and dressed alike? If so, it has to be classified as an amazing coincidence.

Or was this guy someone who - for whatever reason - liked to confess, just for thrills? Maybe he wanted to throw the police off track, by confessing to the PG sightings, knowing that he had a solid alibi for 25 March 1975? Newspapers reported that MCP investigators interviewed between one and three men in Prince Georges County in relation to the PG TRM reported sightings, but that by the end of the day, they had ruled them out as suspects. Was this man one of those interviewed that day?

Tape Recorder Man was described by witnesses at Wheaton Plaza who saw him talking with Kate and Sheila on that fateful day. Other witnesses later confirmed that they, too, had seen him there and elsewhere on other occasions. In fact, those calling from Prince George's county were pretty certain that the man in the sketch was the same one that they had seen.

A big question (not yet answered) would be; Did police ever show the "PG TRM Confesser" or his photo to any of those witnesses who had seen someone they believed to be the Tape Recorder Man at Iverson Mall or Marlow Heights, or Bowie Shopping Centers?

The other matter which the investigators addressed was the suspect vehicle, described in papers as a "Blue Ford Falcon Station Wagon covered in stickers."

Although this vehicle was reported in the Washington Post in the same story as the reported sightings of TRM, it evidently came from a separate incident which was not reported in the papers. A tip came to police early in the investigation (along with many others) about a woman driving such a vehicle with two girls who resembled the Lyon sisters. Shortly after the vehicle description was published in the papers, the woman was identified and the girls seen with her were her own daughters.

So, it would appear that the two separate stories were somehow merged when Montgomery County Police briefed Iverson Mall Security, and when the Washington Post reporter subsequently interviewed the Mall's Chief of Security.

docwho3
11-01-2005, 12:20 PM
Nice work. Thank you for helping with much needed info.

. . .An interesting story, but was it true? Were there really TWO lone nuts out there doing exactly the same thing with tape recorders? Who looked and dressed alike? If so, it has to be classified as an amazing coincidence. . .Or two men working together is possible. I seem to remember a serial killer out on the west coast that was really two people working together. Although not with this much of an imaginative plan.

. . .A big question (not yet answered) would be; Did police ever show the "PG TRM Confesser" or his photo to any of those witnesses who had seen someone they believed to be the Tape Recorder Man at Iverson Mall or Marlow Heights, or Bowie Shopping Centers?
Good question. Perhaps you need to recontact the investigators at some point & ask?