Body of Missing Maryland Girl Found

Friday, 25 Dec 2009 07:52 PM

 

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SALISBURY, Md. – The body of a Maryland girl who authorities say was abducted by a registered sex offender was found Friday after thousands of volunteers fanned out to look for her.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said that the body of 11-year-old Sarah H. Foxwell was discovered at about 4 p.m. near the Delaware state line. He offered few other details. Thomas J. Leggs Jr., 30, has been charged in her kidnapping.

Leggs is a former boyfriend of the girl's aunt, who is her legal guardian. A public defender representing him has not returned a phone call.

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Thousands of volunteers gathered in Salisbury to help in the search Friday.

Lewis said Sarah was last seen Tuesday night at her home on Maryland's Eastern Shore. A relative discovered she was missing early Wednesday while checking on Sarah and her 6-year-old sister. A charging document says Leggs was the last person seen with Sarah.

A "juvenile witness" awoke during the night Tuesday and saw Sarah leave the bedroom with "Tommy," and said he was wearing blue jeans, an orange jacket and white sneakers, the charging document says.

The statement of probable cause also says Sarah's aunt, Amy Fothergill, with whom Sarah lives, noticed that Sarah's green toothbrush was missing from the home. Deputies found a green toothbrush and a lollipop in a truck Leggs admitted driving. Leggs said he had been wearing jeans and white sneakers the previous night — the same clothes he was wearing when police questioned him.

The sheriff said Leggs has been uncooperative and "of no assistance to our investigators."

Leggs is listed on the Maryland and Delaware sex offender registries. The Maryland listing notes that he is a child sex offender, but does not give details about his conviction.

Lewis said Leggs has been convicted of sex offense in Wicomico County and was charged Oct. 29 with fourth-degree burglary.

In 2001, Leggs was convicted in Delaware of rape for having sex with a victim who was 16 or 17, according to the Delaware registry. The registry describes his risk level as "high" and notes he is unemployed.

Leggs, who has been convicted of assault several times, also is awaiting trial on charges of burglary and destruction of property in Ocean City.

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