AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man the FBI named a person of interest in the disappearance of two girls in Washington, D.C. in 1975, spent time in Austin while working with a carnival.
“It’s just shocking,” said Susie Cohen, “it’s just something that changed all of our lives back then.”
Cohen grew up in the D.C. area at the time the Lyon sisters disappeared.
“I don’t know if I remember hearing it on the news, but I remember my parents telling us about it,” Cohen said. “My parents were scared to death. It changed the way we looked at going to the mall. One day it was safe, and then the next day it was, ‘No, we’re going to watch you and stay with you.'”
Now, Susie lives in Austin with her family, and the FBI says the same suspect in the Lyons disappearance may have victims in the Austin area.
“Now we hear it may have happened all over the United States? It’s scary,” said Cohen.
The suspect, Lloyd Lee Welch, also known as Michael Welch, 57, is currently in prison convicted of rape.
But investigators say they have tracked Welch to being in Austin in 1974.
The FBI says Welch traveled extensively through the United States from the 70s to the 90s and worked as a carnival worker, often setting up in mall areas or shopping center parking lots. He has been arrested in several states on charges of sexual offenses against young girls and has been in a Delaware prison since 1997.
The FBI believes Welch was in Austin on Jan. 9, 1974. He worked as a ride operator with a carnival that was in the area.
This is the timeline investigators have put together on his travels:
|January 9, 1974||Austin, Texas|
|March 25, 1975||Wheaton Plaza in Wheaton, Maryland|
|April 1, 1975||Address of 4714 Baltimore Avenue in Hyattsville, Maryland, provided to law enforcement|
|April 9, 1977||Takoma Park, Maryland|
|November 1977||Address of 1825 Main St. in Orlando, Florida, provided to law enforcemet|
|November 24, 1977||Montgomery County, Maryland|
|March 13, 1980||North Miami Beach, Florida|
|September 15, 1981||Hyattsville, Maryland|
|April 15, 1982 to September 11, 1984||Incarcerated (Maryland)|
|March 18, 1987||Los Angeles, California|
|April 27, 1987||Sioux City, Iowa|
|January 13, 1988||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina|
|February 4, 1988||Sioux City, Iowa|
|December 20, 1988||Horry County, South Carolina|
|March 17, 1989||Horry County, South Carolina|
|September 1992||Lockhart, South Carolina|
|November 16, 1992||Clover, South Carolina|
|May 19, 1993||Union County, South Carolina|
|May 31, 1994||Union County, South Carolina|
|June 13, 1994||Baltimore, Maryland|
|June 21, 1994||Address of Road 3, Box 86 in Bedford, Pennsylvania, provided to law enforcement|
|July 13, 1994||Address of 1800 Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, provided for sex offender registry|
|1995||Prince William County, Virginia|
|June 1996||Address of 2242 Sussex Court in Woodbridge, Virginia, provided to law enforcement|
|March 1997||New Castle County, Delaware|
|July 1997 to Present||Incarcerated (Delaware)|
KXAN pulled all the missing persons reports in Texas from 1974 and found a case of three girls who disappeared under the same circumstances as the Lyon sisters.
Those three girls, 9-year-old Julie Ann Moseley, 14-year-old Lisa Wilson, and 17-year-old Mary Trlica, were last seen at the Seminary South Shopping Center in Fort Worth. The car they were in was abandoned in the parking lot, and the girls have not been seen since. They disappeared while shopping together at the shopping center. The vehicle they were in was found in the parking lot locked with the keys missing.
Welch is currently not a suspect in that case, but after KXAN mentioned the case to the FBI, they said they would look into the possible link.
Anyone who may have encountered Welch is asked to call investigators at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit any details online.