Originally Posted by shipmatekate
Since there were two girls taken what are the odds it was someone they knew? ...
Another question I have is about TRM. When was he last sighted? If the sisters were last seen between 2:30 and 3:00 heading home has anyone ever found a reference to the latest sighting of TRM? IF he was spotted at say, 4pm or later then he would be the proverbial red herring.
As to your first question, I don't think that any kind of "odds", statistics, or mathematical probabilities can begin to explain a case like the Lyon Sisters' Disappearance. This kind of case has usually remained unsolved because it defies the odds. It was investigated pretty thoroughly over the years, and I am sure that the police considered various family members, relatives, acquaintences, and neighbors as possible suspects at one point or another.
As you point out, and as Jeb mentions, there is a very odd character who was seen speaking to Sheila and Kate that day. When I wrote my account or summary of the case, I went with what was generally reported by police and in the newspapers of the time.
"Accounts" may differ for a number of reasons, but here is probably the best one, because it quotes the boy who actually saw the girls talking to the Tape Recorder Man. The boy was identified by the Washington Star reporter only as "Jimmy", and it was stated that this was NOT his real name. The full text of the interview appears in this forum under the Thread on Press Reports.
... Jimmy, who lives several blocks from the Lyons said he and his friend rode their bikes up to the plaza that day "to see friends. We just went up there to ride around. We had nothing else to do so we decided to go up there and look around."
"It was about 1 or 2 o'clock." Jimmy related. "I was out with a friend. We were down near ... um ... Peoples (Drug Store) and the Orange Bowl (pizza carryout) and we saw the two girls talking to a man with a tape recorder."
"I heard the man ask one question: ' Are any of you two involved in sports?'"
"And then ... um ... 30 seconds later I looked back. He was walking away toward Wards (Montgomery Ward) and the girls were walking the other way toward the fountain."
... Jimmy was asked to give more details about what he had seen.
He smiled when he told how he and his friend had joked about going over to the man and asking him to interview them so they could get on television.
"I said to my friend, 'Hey, look over there. I wonder what's going on. It looks like a reporter.' We thought he was some kind of a reporter," Jimmy explained. "We were joking around that maybe we should go over there and get him to interview us."
"The man was holding a microphone in his hand between the girls, and asking questions. He had a tan briefcase on the ground. It was one of those hard ones that sat up." the boy said, adding that the tape recorder was sitting next to the man, out of the briefcase.
The man was sitting on the ledge next to an island of (illegible word - bushes?) in the middle of the plaza, Jimmy said. People sit on the ledge to rest during their shopping sprees or to eat a snack or pizza from the carryout.
Jimmy said he had never seen the man before or since. He said the man was well dressed in a brown suit.
So, TRM walked away immediately after talking to the Lyon girls. He was never seen again by Jimmy or anyone else - as TRM. When a sketch of TRM, based on Jimmy's description and with his help was published in the newspapers and shown on television, quite a few persons came forward to say that they had seen him earlier at Wheaton Plaza and at other shopping centers as well.
There were a few other sightings of the Lyon sisters at and near Wheaton Plaza that same day, however, and aparently AFTER they were seen by Jimmy talking to TRM. Their brother Jay stated that he saw them talking to the Easter Bunny in the Mall, and he later saw them eating pizza at the Orange Bowl.
The later sighting of them walking on Drumm Ave, near Devon at about 3:30 PM was from another boy who came forward two weeks after the girls disappeared. His story was that he told his parents about the sighting as soon as he learned that the girls were missing, but because an erroneous news report stated that the girls had been seen at Wheaton Plaza around 7:30 PM, the boy's parents did not think his information was important. When it did come to police attention, they had to evaluate it with the consideration that it was time late in coming to them, and that the boy may have been mistaken in his recall of the time or date. They may even have had doubts as to whether it was the two girls, or possibly others, because by then, there had been numerous false or mistaken reports of sightings.