SALISBURY, Md. – 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. 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.
Lewis said the body was found in the northern part of the county, in the area where authorities had been focusing their search.
"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 Thursday that 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 a 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.