(from the Associated Press)
The body of a Maryland girl who authorities say was abducted by a registered sex offender was found Friday in a wooded area near the Delaware state line after thousands of volunteers spent Christmas searching for her.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said the body of 11-year-old Sarah H. Foxwell was discovered about 4 p.m. near the Delaware state line. He offered few other details. Thomas J. Leggs Jr., 30, was arrested Wednesday and charged in her kidnapping.
Wicomico County State's Attorney Davis R. Ruark said authorities remain focused on Leggs as they investigate the killing.
"There's no indication of involvement of any other individuals at this point," he told The Associated Press.
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.
"This is not the way we wanted to find our young lady on Christmas, but at the very least we've given closure to the family," Ruark said at the news conference.
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.
Sarah lived with her aunt, Amy Fothergill, who told police the child's toothbrush was missing from the home, according to the statement of probable cause.
Deputies said they 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 involving 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.
Thousands of volunteers had gathered at a stadium in Salisbury early Friday morning and fanned out to search for her.
Now here's my question, and it's just like a fire prevention thing. You know that spontaneous combustion might occur from storing oily rags in the basement or garage, so you don't do that. You don't encourage a child to stick a fork in an electric outlet, nor do you light a match to see how much gas is left in the can. You're wise to take precautions against trouble or injury.
So will someone please tell me why a man who raped a teenaged girl in 2001 is out committing more crimes - apparently a murder - in 2009. We really don't expect that guys like this learn their lessons in the big house, and just as we don't use frayed, worn electric cords, we shouldn't expect the frayed and worn mind of a man like Leggs to function normally here among us in society.
So someone now can tell me why he was out walking around among us. I thought rape was the sort of thing that earned a long stretch in the pen.
I was talking to a guy once who told me that prison was not an effective way of treating a criminal, that counseling and understanding were the paths to rehabilitation. How about, I don't care if guys like Leggs ever become rehabilitated? Let them serve their time, and then if they come out and commit another crime, it's back in IronBar TimeOut for them. Oh, there will be a huge hue and cry, and he will be prosecuted and there will then be back-patting and congratulations and assurance that Justice Has Been Served.
What am I missing? What is all the world missing, beside a helpless 11-year old girl? Shame on all of us.