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  1. #31
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    Q

    Quote Originally Posted by smile22
    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.

  2. #32
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    Possible connection with Beatty case?

    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...DOCNUM=0081135

    Coffey, FH. 704:
    http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/...2c+Jr.+704.htm

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

  3. #33
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    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.

  4. #34
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    Link to the Neal J Conway article on the Lyon sisters:

    http://www.nealjconway.com/essays/wh...onsisters.html

  5. #35
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    Sketch comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by joellegirl
    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.

  6. #36
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    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

  7. #37
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    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.

  8. #38
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    Unrelated abductor?

    Quote Originally Posted by LillyRush
    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.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    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.

  10. #40
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    Cold Case vs Open Case

    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.


  11. #41
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    Question Tape recorder man more thoughts

    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.

  12. #42
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    Tape Recorder Man Suspect Comments

    Quote Originally Posted by mom-a-licious
    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.

  13. #43
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    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

  14. #44
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    Media coverage...

    Quote Originally Posted by smile22
    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.

  15. #45
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    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!!!

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