Could Carnival Worker Who Murdered Maryland Sisters in 1975 Be Behind 1974 Killing of Minnesota Sisters?

Mary Reker, 15 and Susanne, 12 bodies were found in a quarry in Minnesota. Both girls had been murdered. The case goes back to 1974.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Lloyd Welch was convicted of the killings of Sheila and Katherine Lyon, but did he also kill Mary and Susanne Reker?

A traveling carnival worker who kidnapped and killed two Maryland sisters in 1975 may be linked to the cold case double murder of two sisters from Minnesota who were slain a year earlier, according to a woman who says she was attacked by that same carnival worker. 

Mary and Susanne Reker left their St. Cloud home at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 2, 1974, to walk to a local store, but the girls never returned home. Instead, their bodies were found 26 days later in a quarry three miles away from their home. Susie, 12, was found on the top of the quarry. She had been stabbed 13 times. Her 15-year-old sister, Mary, was found unclothed 4 feet below the surface. She had been stabbed six times. The quarry was a place known for kids to play or swim, according to police.

The murders of the Reker sisters have long stumped investigators, who for decades have searched for whoever was responsible for the brutal killings. Now, a Minnesota woman says she is certain that the same person responsible for the double murder is who sexually assaulted her in 1974. 

Georgianne Dreher told KARE-TV that in the very same quarry that the bodies of Mary and Susanne were found, she was attacked by a young man, possibly in his late teens, who told her he was a traveling carnival worker and his name was Lloyd. She says the pair had met earlier and decided to go to the quarry, where they talked for a while before his mood suddenly shifted. He sliced her pants with a sharp knife and told her to do what he said, she said she told police at the time. "It’s like you do it, or you die,” she remembered him saying. She also remembered the distinct scar he had on his left eyebrow, she said. 

Georgianne told KARE-TV that as he sexually assaulted her, he talked about his fantasies, which including a fascination with sisters. Finally, when a car pulled up, Georgianne was able to escape. Days later, she learned the Reker sisters had been killed. 

She reported the attack to police at the time, though she said authorities then did not believe there to be a connection between her case and the Reker's murders. But as the years progressed, Georgianne never stopped thinking about her attacker, and the chance he would hurt someone else. She went on to set up news alerts for "Lloyd" and "carnival worker," and in 2014, the alerts went off. 

Sisters Sheila and Katherine Lyon vanished from a Wheaton Plaza, Maryland shopping center just outside Washington, D.C., in March 1975. Katherine, 10, and Sheila, 12, had walked to the mall to see Easter exhibits, planned to have lunch at a pizzeria there, and return home. Instead, they were never seen again. Police never recovered their bodies, relying on only witness accounts of the girls talking with an unknown man.

In 2014, convicted sex offender Lloyd Welch was named as a person of interest in the Lyon sisters' case. When Georgianne saw the story break, she reached out to the two lead investigators from Montgomery County, Maryland, and gave them information that she remembered her attacker had told her. She gave him the name of his girlfriend and detectives learned Welch traveled all across the country with that same girlfriend, according to authorities. The information Georgianne had shared was key in their investigation, according to police. These specific details, among others, convinced authorities that Welch was their guy.

Welch was soon charged in connection with the Lyon murders and Georgianne was subpoenaed to testify as a pattern witness, reported the news outlet, but her testimony wasn’t needed. Welch pleaded guilty to felony first-degree murder and in 2017 was sentenced to 48 years in prison.

Georgianne said she told investigators that she had written to Welch in prison and even visited him once, hoping he’d confess to the killings of the Reker sisters. He did not. However, a prosecutor in the Lyon sisters murder case said that when investigators spoke to Welch about the letters Georgianne had written, Welch did acknowledge that "she [Georgianne] said some things about him that were accurate that few people would know." 

Georgianne told KARE-TV she is convinced Welch is behind the killings of the Reker sisters. “That’s a guy that’s a serial killer," she said. "You got two girls on the East Coast, two girls out here. And he’s got a fantasy about sisters!"  

Although investigators at the Stearns County Sheriffs do not consider Welch a prime suspect, Stearns County Sherriff Steve Soyka said the Reker case is still open. Authorities continue to ask for the public’s help in solving the case. Anyone with information is asked to contact or call the department at 320-259-3701. 

Inside Edition Digital's attempts to reach the Stearns County Sheriff Department for a statement have been unsuccessful.