National Press Club

Author Mark Bowden says path to truth is a long trail of lies in Headliners talk on 'The Last Stone'

June 25, 2019 | By Joe Luchok | joseph.luchok@verizon.net

Author Mark Bowden discusses "The Last Stone" at a National Press Club Headliners book talk on June 24.

Author Mark Bowden discusses "The Last Stone" at a National Press Club Headliners book talk on June 24.

Photo/Image: Ferdous Al-Faruque

Best-selling author Mark Bowden said his latest book, “The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation," takes readers down the same path detectives took when they finally cracked the 40-year-old cold case of two sisters who had gone missing in a Washington suburb.

Bowden, who appeared at a National Press Club Headliners event, was a cub reporter in 1975 when he covered the disappearance of sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon from a shopping mall. The case always stayed in his mind, but his interest piqued anew in 2015 when he learned from his sister that police had a suspect, he told the audience at a Headliners book talk on Monday. He contacted the detectives who told him how they cracked the case.

The book covers the nearly two years police spent interrogating the suspect. It is the story , he said, of how you get someone who doesn’t want to tell you the truth to tell you the truth. The theme of the book, he said, is truth and lies.

Although the suspect, Lloyd Welch, lied constantly, the detectives found nuggets of truth that he kept repeating, Bowden said. The more he talked, the more the detectives learned. Welch told so many lies, he could not keep them straight.

Detectives employed many tactics to keep Welch talking: an empathetic detective, a tough guy detective, and a friendly detective, Bowden said. The detectives also lied to Welch to suss out the truth, walking a fine line between what the law allows and prohibits, Bowden said.

Del Wilber, member of the Club's Board of Governors, interviewed the author.