On Tuesday, police announced they have identified a person of interest in the disappearance of Sheila and Katherine Lyon. It is a case that has hung over the community for nearly 40 years. The recent development in this case also has meaning for some residents.
It was 1975 -- the year of convictions in the Watergate scandal. But for people in this Montgomery County neighborhood, the only crime that mattered that year was the disappearance of two little girls.
“A great family, and they were shattered, and Montgomery County was shattered,” said Nancy Murphy.
They were shattered by the disappearance of 12-year-old Sheila and 10-year-old Katherine.
“When my parents came home the night that they were missing, I can remember the feeling of just total panic of the whole family,” Murphy said. “And that feeling has never gone away.”
You could see Wheaton Plaza from the Lyon sisters’ neighborhood.
“Little bit of woods and then there was a hill,” said Murphy. “It was a hill you went up and then you made it to the parking lot.”
March 25, 1975 was like any other day.
“If you went up to the mall back then, we'd all be hanging out,” “We'd have only a few dollars in our pocket and that’s all we needed.”
But the Lyon girls never came home. Murphy had been eager to see Kate that weekend.
“We made plans,” she said. “Alright, Friday, she’s spending the night at my house. I was excited about that. You’re 10 years old. That's what you live for.”
But that sleepover would never happen.
“That's when they sat me down and said, 'She can't spend the night,'” recalled Murphy. “I still remember that because I remember thinking, 'Why? Where is she?’ Everybody has an answer. There was always an answer where everybody was. This time, there was no answer.”
And for almost 40 years, there has been no answer.
“It's there constantly. A friend lives in San Francisco -- Marie Sales -- she was best friends with Kate. And when we met this past year, that was the first thing we talked about,” said Murphy.
Off Georgia Avenue, there is a plaque in a cemetery, even though the family wasn't sure if the girls were dead or alive.
“It was hard to comprehend because you always had that hope, the glimmer, that they would come back,” Murphy said.
She thinks of all the graduations and weddings and babies they missed.
“It's sad to see that this is what the world can be, and to me, that’s the very beginning of what I knew was out there. The bad stuff. There was nothing bad before that ever,” said Murphy.”
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