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  1. #1
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    Case Survey

    Lyon Case Survey


    There have been many discussions, debates, and theories expressed over the years regarding the disappearance of Sheila and Katherine Lyon. Their case has remained open and unsolved for 36 years.

    This thread is a survey asking for your opinions, theories, suggestions, and questions. Of course, the official police files are not available to us, but we have the benefit of reading numerous press articles, website links, and previous posts here on Websleuths regarding this case.

    The questions that I pose here have all been asked before, but not in this fashion. By their very nature, the questions are controversial and somewhat subjective. I tried to cover different aspects of the case as presented in these threads. Some have expressed strong opinions about certain subjects (such as TRM or the Tan Ford) in the past. My questions are not intended to insult anyone or to criticize any previous postings.

    There are no right or wrong answers, only your personal opinions and insight. I ask that posters refrain from criticism of others or from argument in this thread. There is plenty of room for discussion and debate in the other threads.

    Try to approach this exercise from the perspective of a newly assigned Cold Case officer taking a fresh look at the file and trying to formulate a plan of action toward resolution. I feel that these are some of the questions that would need to be asked.

    Feel free to answer as briefly or in as much detail as you wish. If you are undecided or have no opinion on a question, so state, or just skip it.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Survey Questions:


    1. The Official Police File: If you could see one document, report, interview, or witness statement in the Lyon Sisters' case file, what would it be and why?


    2. Eyewitness Statements: If you were an official investigator on this case, what one eyewitness would you most want to locate and re-interview? What question(s) would you want to ask?


    3. Connected Cases: Police have never connected the Lyon case with any other cases. However, a number of other cases have been mentioned in this topic area as being similar to or possibly connected to the disappearance of Sheila and Kate. Do you feel that there are any other cases which might have a connection? If so, which one(s) and why do you think so?


    4. Suspects: Of all the potential suspects and persons of interest discussed on this board, which (if any) do you feel most strongly about? That is, who seems a more likely suspect?


    5. Clues: What do you feel are the most important clues or evidence in this case?


    6. Abduction Theories: There are many theories and possibilities discussed as to what happened to Sheila and Kate, such as they ran away, or were abducted. If you believe that they were abducted, do you feel that there was only one abductor, or more than one? Do you feel that the perpetrator(s) initially used Deception or Force to abduct the girls?


    7. Location: Do you have any ideas or theories as to where the girls (or their bodies) are now?


    8. Tape Recorder Man (TRM): There has been a lot of discussion about an unidentified man with a tape recorder who was seen by two boys in Wheaton Plaza speaking with Sheila and Kate Lyon shortly before they went missing. Several other witnesses came forward to state that they had seen the same or a similar Tape Recorder Man on previous occasions at Wheaton Plaza and at other Maryland Malls. Do you think there was only one TRM, or more? Do you think that the Tape Recorder Man seen talking with Sheila and Kate had anything to do with their disappearance?


    9. The Tan Ford Station Wagon: Two weeks after the girls went missing, witnesses in Manassas, Virginia saw a Tan Ford Station Wagon driven by a man with a girl (or girls) bound and gagged in the back. The vehicle ran a red light and drove off at high speed. How strongly do you feel that this was a true sighting of the Lyon Sisters - as opposed to a misunderstood/unrelated incident, a separate/different abduction case, or a staged hoax?


    10. Questions: If you could ask ONE question of investigators, suspects, witnesses, or anyone regarding this case, what would it be and who would you ask?

  2. #2
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    This is the one of the original cases that brought me to WS, so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    1. The Official Police File: If you could see one document, report, interview, or witness statement in the Lyon Sisters' case file, what would it be and why?
    I can't think of any one specific thing I would want to see. I'd want to read the case file in total and then go from there. Given how little we know about the actual police documents, I'd have to see the file first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    2. Eyewitness Statements: If you were an official investigator on this case, what one eyewitness would you most want to locate and re-interview? What question(s) would you want to ask?
    I have two. I would want to question again the man who claimed to be the TRM from the other shopping centers, but who said he was NOT at Wheaton Plaza that day. I would want all available eyewitnesses from Wheaton to see that man in a photo array or line-up. I would also want the boy who claimed to see the sisters at seven in the evening to be brought in and questioned again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    3. Connected Cases: Police have never connected the Lyon case with any other cases. However, a number of other cases have been mentioned in this topic area as being similar to or possibly connected to the disappearance of Sheila and Kate. Do you feel that there are any other cases which might have a connection? If so, which one(s) and why do you think so?
    I don't think any cases are linked based on the evidence provided in this forum. While Richard has brought to light a number of cases with similarities, I can't think of any one that I think is directly related to the Lyon sisters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    4. Suspects: Of all the potential suspects and persons of interest discussed on this board, which (if any) do you feel most strongly about? That is, who seems a more likely suspect?
    TRM is the most likely suspect, but his identity remains a mystery. Delbardelen (sp?) could be the man behind the recorder, but I am not at all convinced one way or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    5. Clues: What do you feel are the most important clues or evidence in this case?
    The tan Ford. The poster in this forum who claimed to have chased a similar vehicle, I would definitely want him and others like him to be canvassed. I would also be interested in learning more about the stolen police uniforms that it has been suggested were taken by Delbardelen (sp?) for use in an abduction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    6. Abduction Theories: There are many theories and possibilities discussed as to what happened to Sheila and Kate, such as they ran away, or were abducted. If you believe that they were abducted, do you feel that there was only one abductor, or more than one? Do you feel that the perpetrator(s) initially used Deception or Force to abduct the girls?
    TRM is the most likely suspect for abduction and I believe he did it alone. I am not convinced it was Delbardelen (sp?) who was TRM, but the theories surrounding how that man would have done it seem plausible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    7. Location: Do you have any ideas or theories as to where the girls (or their bodies) are now?
    None whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    8. Tape Recorder Man (TRM): There has been a lot of discussion about an unidentified man with a tape recorder who was seen by two boys in Wheaton Plaza speaking with Sheila and Kate Lyon shortly before they went missing. Several other witnesses came forward to state that they had seen the same or a similar Tape Recorder Man on previous occasions at Wheaton Plaza and at other Maryland Malls. Do you think there was only one TRM, or more? Do you think that the Tape Recorder Man seen talking with Sheila and Kate had anything to do with their disappearance?
    Until the man who claimed to be at other shopping centers as TRM but who claimed to NOT have been at Wheaton Plaza that day is brought in and questioned (assuming he's still alive), I cannot say either way, though my money is on there being only one and that man was a hoaxer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    9. The Tan Ford Station Wagon: Two weeks after the girls went missing, witnesses in Manassas, Virginia saw a Tan Ford Station Wagon driven by a man with a girl (or girls) bound and gagged in the back. The vehicle ran a red light and drove off at high speed. How strongly do you feel that this was a true sighting of the Lyon Sisters - as opposed to a misunderstood/unrelated incident, a separate/different abduction case, or a staged hoax?
    I am truly 50-50 on this being real or a hoax, but I would want to see it fully re-investigated all the same based on the post here at WS by a poster who claimed to have chased a similar vehicle in the area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    10. Questions: If you could ask ONE question of investigators, suspects, witnesses, or anyone regarding this case, what would it be and who would you ask?
    I would ask Brother Jay what he thinks really happened based on what he knows now as a cop and a member of MCPD.

  3. #3
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    case survey

    Here are my answers to the survey.
    1. I'd like to see any interviews done with Fred Coffey.

    2. I'd like to re-interview little Jimmy who saw the 2 girls talking to TRM.
    Does he still support all of his original story?

    3 .I've always felt like the Kathy Beaty case was related because of
    the time frame & location.

    4. I think Coffey done it.

    5. The important clues would be; little Jimmy, witnesses to the tan sw, &
    people who witnessed the girls walking toward home.

    6. My theory is 1 abductor, with deception as an m.o.

    7. If the tan SW was a hoax, then I would say the girls could be buried locally in an area Coffey would have be familiar with. Maybe around Redland Road, Muncaster Mill Rd. the landfill on Gude Dr.or even along the power lines.

    8. I think there was 1 & only 1 TRM, & he had everything to do with
    there disappearance.

    9. The tan SW most likely a true sighting.

    10. I'D like to ask Coffey what he did with the girls & have my .357 in
    in his ear when I ask.

  4. #4
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    Survey Questions:


    1. The Official Police File: If you could see one document, report, interview, or witness statement in the Lyon Sisters' case file, what would it be and why?
    The Mileski interview because I think he had some information that may have lead to other sources of information.
    And I'd want to see all the documentation of any physical evidence gathered the night of the crime. (don't tell me there isn't any)



    2. Eyewitness Statements: If you were an official investigator on this case, what one eyewitness would you most want to locate and re-interview? What question(s) would you want to ask?
    "Jimmy" to find out just how accurate his sighting was and why he didn't report it immediately and James Mann, same reasons.
    Or Anyone who saw the girls on the way home.


    3. Connected Cases: Police have never connected the Lyon case with any other cases. However, a number of other cases have been mentioned in this topic area as being similar to or possibly connected to the disappearance of Sheila and Kate. Do you feel that there are any other cases which might have a connection? If so, which one(s) and why do you think so?
    None in MD. Maybe one or a few from other states. PA, FL, VA, SC, MI, TX,


    4. Suspects: Of all the potential suspects and persons of interest discussed on this board, which (if any) do you feel most strongly about? That is, who seems a more likely suspect?
    No one we've discussed. Someone we have yet to name.


    5. Clues: What do you feel are the most important clues or evidence in this case?
    Most likely the ones we don't know about. It is telling that they vanished seemingly without anyone noticing. That is a big clue.


    6. Abduction Theories: There are many theories and possibilities discussed as to what happened to Sheila and Kate, such as they ran away, or were abducted. If you believe that they were abducted, do you feel that there was only one abductor, or more than one? Do you feel that the perpetrator(s) initially used Deception or Force to abduct the girls?
    Abducted by one predator who used deception to lure Kate and Sheila followed most likely to keep Kate from being too curious. Most likely a predator known to the girls in some way, even a very loose tie to the girls or their family or community.

    7. Location: Do you have any ideas or theories as to where the girls (or their bodies) are now?
    My theory is they are located on privately owned heavily wooded land in MD.


    8. Tape Recorder Man (TRM): There has been a lot of discussion about an unidentified man with a tape recorder who was seen by two boys in Wheaton Plaza speaking with Sheila and Kate Lyon shortly before they went missing. Several other witnesses came forward to state that they had seen the same or a similar Tape Recorder Man on previous occasions at Wheaton Plaza and at other Maryland Malls. Do you think there was only one TRM, or more? Do you think that the Tape Recorder Man seen talking with Sheila and Kate had anything to do with their disappearance?
    I go back and forth but honestly I think TRM has nothing to do with their disappearance.


    9. The Tan Ford Station Wagon: Two weeks after the girls went missing, witnesses in Manassas, Virginia saw a Tan Ford Station Wagon driven by a man with a girl (or girls) bound and gagged in the back. The vehicle ran a red light and drove off at high speed. How strongly do you feel that this was a true sighting of the Lyon Sisters - as opposed to a misunderstood/unrelated incident, a separate/different abduction case, or a staged hoax?
    I don't think the sighting had anything to do with the girls. maybe a misunderstanding, a mistake, a cruel hoax. But nothing legitimate.


    10. Questions: If you could ask ONE question of investigators, suspects, witnesses, or anyone regarding this case, what would it be and who would you ask?
    I'd ask the original detectives who worked the case who their number one suspect is and why. Then I'd ask the girls' brother Jay the same question.
    (I know that is two questions)
    Children don't stop dancing

  5. #5
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    Richard thanks for this survey. It really made me think a bit.
    I'd love to hear your responses to these questions. You have researched this case more than anyone here I'd venture to say. You've also spoke to detectives and other people regarding this case. I'd love to hear your theories and possible connections to this case if you had to narrow it down to one or two answers per question.
    Thanks again for this thought provoking post.
    Children don't stop dancing

  6. #6
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    1. The Official Police File: If you could see one document, report, interview, or witness statement in the Lyon Sisters' case file, what would it be and why?
    I'd like to read anything and everything Mary Lyon had to say about that day because I'm very curious about who she bowled with,how often she bowled and did she or John always go with Sheila when she bowled as it was mentioned that Sheila enjoyed bowling.

    2. Eyewitness Statements: If you were an official investigator on this case, what one eyewitness would you most want to locate and re-interview? What question(s) would you want to ask?
    I'd like to talk to "Jimmy" and his parents. I'd ask them if they questioned him the day the girls went missing about possibly seeing them at the mall as they'd known he was there. I'd ask "Jimmy" why the delay in coming forward and why he didn't ask the girls what the"reporter"(as Jimmy put it) wanted. I believe he said that he knew Sheila...seems logical that he'd ask her what was up like most kids would.

    3. Connected Cases: Police have never connected the Lyon case with any other cases. However, a number of other cases have been mentioned in this topic area as being similar to or possibly connected to the disappearance of Sheila and Kate. Do you feel that there are any other cases which might have a connection? If so, which one(s) and why do you think so? There are some similar cases in:PA,NC,FL,NJ,MI,TX and VA.

    4. Suspects: Of all the potential suspects and persons of interest discussed on this board, which (if any) do you feel most strongly about? That is, who seems a more likely suspect?
    I don't suspect anyone we've discussed here....however I do suspect someone known to the family.


    5. Clues: What do you feel are the most important clues or evidence in this case? The biggest and best clue,in my eyes, is the fact that 2 girls vanished without anyone seeing or hearing a struggle. They weren't dragged away kicking and screaming...they went quietly. This would be very difficult for a stranger to pull off with 1 let alone 2 kids but it would be simple for someone they knew.


    6. Abduction Theories: There are many theories and possibilities discussed as to what happened to Sheila and Kate, such as they ran away, or were abducted. If you believe that they were abducted, do you feel that there was only one abductor, or more than one? Do you feel that the perpetrator(s) initially used Deception or Force to abduct the girls?
    [B]Taken by 1 man who knew them and at the very least, Mary Lyon. Mary and Sheila both liked to bowl...and we have Mary bowling that day. This man could have known them through bowling....heard Mary say that she sent the kids to the mall to get them out of the house because John was home sleeping. Think about this..that would have been the perfect time to take them. The man leaves bowling early and catches them on their way home...all he has to do is say,"Hey girls,your mom sent me to see if you want to come bowl with her while your dad is sleeping." If Mary and the girls are friendly with this man and he's just harmless Joe Blow from bowling....they get into his car and that would be that.

    7. Location: Do you have any ideas or theories as to where the girls (or their bodies) are now?
    I agree with STL on this..."privately owned heavily wooded land in MD."


    8. Tape Recorder Man (TRM): There has been a lot of discussion about an unidentified man with a tape recorder who was seen by two boys in Wheaton Plaza speaking with Sheila and Kate Lyon shortly before they went missing. Several other witnesses came forward to state that they had seen the same or a similar Tape Recorder Man on previous occasions at Wheaton Plaza and at other Maryland Malls. Do you think there was only one TRM, or more? Do you think that the Tape Recorder Man seen talking with Sheila and Kate had anything to do with their disappearance?
    I don't think TRM was there that day. I think "Jimmy" may have seen him another time and was seeking attention...hense the coming forward with this sighting days later and having only himself and his friend seeing it.


    9. The Tan Ford Station Wagon: Two weeks after the girls went missing, witnesses in Manassas, Virginia saw a Tan Ford Station Wagon driven by a man with a girl (or girls) bound and gagged in the back. The vehicle ran a red light and drove off at high speed. How strongly do you feel that this was a true sighting of the Lyon Sisters - as opposed to a misunderstood/unrelated incident, a separate/different abduction case, or a staged hoax?
    Simple hoax.


    10. Questions: If you could ask ONE question of investigators, suspects, witnesses, or anyone regarding this case, what would it be and who would you ask?
    I would ask any investigator who has ever looked into this case as well as brother Jay to tell me if 2 girls going missing...in broad day light.. without any signs of a struggle... makes them wonder more about the perp being known to the girls and less about him being a TRM who was only seen by 2 boys who reported the sighting days after the girls were taken.
    Last edited by Motherof5; 09-20-2011 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Edited by me for corrections.

  7. #7
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    I would want to read the whole case file, all of the witness' statements are important MOO

    The one eyewitness I would love to talk to would be the 12 year oild boy who stated that he saw both girls walking back towards the mall at around 7 p.m. that evening. I believe he may well have seen them.

    I believe that the prime suspect is the TRM. Whoever he is/was. I do not think it was DeBardeleben.He was into passing fake 20 dollar bills in malls. He would buy a cheap item, pay with a phony $20 bill,take the change, and then get out of the area fast. His whole deal depended on him being kind of non-descript,so that he could keep on passing fake money... Taping young girls in busy public places would have worked against his main shtick, which was counterfeiting. MOO He sure sounds evil though...

    The TRM is the main clue. The TRM seems like a classic pedophile. But, I cannot figure out where his gratification came from. He didn't seem to breach the boundaries of the girls he spoke to. Didn't seem to touch them at all. He was in a busy public place. Took no photos. All he would have from any girls he recorded would be their voices ? Weird. I believe the voice taping was a grooming device. He used this to connect with potential victims. And the Lyon sisters were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I believe one of the girls ( probably the younger,more outgoing one ), spoke to him,and told him what their father did for a living. The TRM saw his opening,and worked it...And he must have been good. Even though he was seen going in the opposite direction to the sisters, I believe he may have set up a possible meeting with them later on. In connection with the voice taping... It is just too coincidental that they vanished after crossing paths with this man. MOO

    I believe that they were abducted by the TRM, who used the voice recording as a ruse. They may have gone to meet him at some designated place later on that evening. They were not grabbed, they went to meet him. No one would have noticed anything out of the ordinary.

    That tan station wagon sounds like a hoax. Why would an abducter not cover his bound and gagged victims with a blanket, so that they would not be visible as he drove ? MOO

  8. #8
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    Richard...thank you so much for posting this survey! I really took my time with your questions because you were vey specific and had us choose which clues,interviews and suspects were most important to us. Really made me stop and think and it's nice to get a glimps of this case from several different sets of eyes. I hope that you are planning to take your survey as we have. Your endless research and views on this case are greatly valued.

  9. #9
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    Survey Responses

    Quote Originally Posted by Motherof5 View Post
    Richard..... I hope that you are planning to take your survey as we have. ...
    Thanks to all who have been posting here. I know that this survey may be a bit frustrating or limiting, but I wanted to start something in the way of focussing on some basic questions about the case - not just answering the survey questions, but thinking about these and other questions that also need to be considered and answered.

    It is meant as a sort of systematic approach to a very difficult case.

    I certainly do not have absolute answers to the questions asked here, but I have thought about them all for a long time, and I do plan to eventually take the survey as well. Since I wrote it, I wanted others to have the opportunity to respond first, rather than appearing to ask and immediately "answer" my own questions.

    As I stated at the outset, there are no right or wrong answers or responses. Each response provides a new look and new insight. I hope more folks take the survey and hope that those of you who have, continue to think of even better questions.

  10. #10
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    It's been over a month since this survey was posted and I think everyone has had time to answer if they wanted to. You might as well go ahead and take your survey, Richard. Your take on this case is always appreciated


  11. #11
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    A few years back, I posted this Survey thread to formulate some questions and ask for others thoughts on this case.

    Police seem to think that they are close to solving the case now, and hopefully some of these questions will be answered. What other questions are still unanswered that you would like to ask of investigators?

    ----------------------------
    Origional Survey Questions:


    1. The Official Police File: If you could see one document, report, interview, or witness statement in the Lyon Sisters' case file, what would it be and why?


    2. Eyewitness Statements: If you were an official investigator on this case, what one eyewitness would you most want to locate and re-interview? What question(s) would you want to ask?


    3. Connected Cases: Police have never connected the Lyon case with any other cases. However, a number of other cases have been mentioned in this topic area as being similar to or possibly connected to the disappearance of Sheila and Kate. Do you feel that there are any other cases which might have a connection? If so, which one(s) and why do you think so?


    4. Suspects: Of all the potential suspects and persons of interest discussed on this board, which (if any) do you feel most strongly about? That is, who seems a more likely suspect?


    5. Clues: What do you feel are the most important clues or evidence in this case?


    6. Abduction Theories: There are many theories and possibilities discussed as to what happened to Sheila and Kate, such as they ran away, or were abducted. If you believe that they were abducted, do you feel that there was only one abductor, or more than one? Do you feel that the perpetrator(s) initially used Deception or Force to abduct the girls?


    7. Location: Do you have any ideas or theories as to where the girls (or their bodies) are now?


    8. Tape Recorder Man (TRM): There has been a lot of discussion about an unidentified man with a tape recorder who was seen by two boys in Wheaton Plaza speaking with Sheila and Kate Lyon shortly before they went missing. Several other witnesses came forward to state that they had seen the same or a similar Tape Recorder Man on previous occasions at Wheaton Plaza and at other Maryland Malls. Do you think there was only one TRM, or more? Do you think that the Tape Recorder Man seen talking with Sheila and Kate had anything to do with their disappearance?


    9. The Tan Ford Station Wagon: Two weeks after the girls went missing, witnesses in Manassas, Virginia saw a Tan Ford Station Wagon driven by a man with a girl (or girls) bound and gagged in the back. The vehicle ran a red light and drove off at high speed. How strongly do you feel that this was a true sighting of the Lyon Sisters - as opposed to a misunderstood/unrelated incident, a separate/different abduction case, or a staged hoax?


    10. Questions: If you could ask ONE question of investigators, suspects, witnesses, or anyone regarding this case, what would it be and who would you ask?

  12. #12
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    1. The Official Police File: If you could see one document, report, interview, or witness statement in the Lyon Sisters' case file, what would it be and why?
    This has gone from "What one item would I want to see?" to "Give me the entire file." The long-haired man sketch was in the file for decades and they only pulled it out a year ago (Nov of 13?) and if they hadn't pulled it out, we would have never known that it exists.
    What do we think? What do we know? What can we prove?

  13. #13
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    I do not know how I have missed this thread until today it is very intresting. All of my answers are strictly my own opinion. 1 Interviews I would like to see all of the lyons familys statements to determine where everyone was and how can they be sure the girls did not come home at some point while all were out? 2 I would like to see the statement of the boy who saw them at 730pm. 3 I can not speculate but other cases sound similar in nature. 4 I have been back and forth on this one I think my lease likely suspect is the PG man who killed his family. 5 clues my main thing seems to be the total lack of clues in this case. 6 I believe they were abducted how is left to be seen. 7 Location I would not even speculate to this question. 8 TRM I think he is /was involved in this in some manner. 9 Station wagon I never thought this was a true sighting not saying anyone lied just maybe mistaking. 10 Main question WHERE ARE THE LYON SISTERS????????