Body of missing Maryland girl is found near Delaware
SALISBURY, Md. - Searchers found the body of a missing girl near the Delaware state line after a Christmas Day search by thousands of volunteers, officials said.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said the body of Sarah H. Foxwell, 11, was found at about 4 p.m. He offered few other details, but officials said earlier that a registered sex offender is being held in connection with the abduction.
Thomas J. Leggs Jr., 30, was charged with kidnapping and burglary. Leggs is a former boyfriend of the girl’s aunt, who was her legal guardian.
Nearly 3,000 volunteers gathered in Salisbury yesterday to help in the search. Authorities also asked residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore to search their properties for signs of the girl.
Leggs is listed on the Maryland and Delaware sex offender registries.
Lewis said Sarah was last seen Tuesday night at her Salisbury home, where she lived with her aunt. A relative discovered she was missing early Wednesday while checking on Sarah and her 6-year-old sister.
A “juvenile witness’’ saw Sarah leave the bedroom with a man wearing blue jeans, an orange jacket, and white sneakers, according to court records.
A statement of probable cause stated that Sarah’s aunt, Amy Fothergill, noticed that Sarah’s green toothbrush was missing from the home. Deputies found a green toothbrush and a lollipop in a truck Leggs drove. Leggs said he had been wearing jeans and white sneakers the previous night - the same clothes he was wearing when police questioned him.
Dive teams searched a pond Wednesday night, and scores of police officers from across the region combed several square miles of woods on Christmas Eve. Helicopters and dogs were brought in to aid the search.
Leggs is being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center without bail, Lewis said. Maryland lists Leggs as a child sex offender, but does not give details about his conviction.