BEDFORD, Va. — The convicted sex offender indicted on a charge of the 1975 murders of Sheila and Katherine Lyon is expected to enter a plea Tuesday and be sentenced to life in prison, according to sources familiar with the case.
Lloyd Lee Welch, 60, is accused of abducting 12-year-old Sheila and 10-year-old Katherine after the girls visited Wheaton Plaza during Easter vacation of 1975.
Their disappearance sparked fear in the region and marked a turning point in attitudes about child abduction and safety.
The daughters of former WMAL broadcaster John Lyon, and his wife, Mary, were last seen March 25, 1975. Their bodies have never been found.
Prosecutors allege Welch burned at least one of the sisters’ bodies in a fire on the property of his family members on Taylor’s Mountain, in nearby Thaxton, Virginia.
Sources tell WTOP Welch has never acknowledged killing the girls during more than eight interviews with Montgomery County detectives, and it is unlikely he will make the admission Tuesday.
Welch could enter an Alford plea, in which he doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.
As part of a global plea agreement, Welch would be sentenced to life in prison.
He is also expected to plead guilty to a series of sexual assaults in 1996 of a young girl in Prince William County, Virginia.
Montgomery County prosecutors have also been considering charges against Welch, since the girls were abducted there.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been under a gag order and have not confirmed or denied Welch’s intent to enter a plea.