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Sex offender being held in Md. girl's disappearance

SALISBURY, Md. — Police in Maryland were searching Christmas Eve for a missing 11-year-old girl last seen wearing fuzzy Christmas pajamas, and they have charged a registered child sex offender in her disappearance.

Thomas J. Leggs Jr. of Salisbury, 30, is charged with burglary and with kidnapping Sarah Foxwell, according to court documents.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike 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.

"She wasn't in her room," Lewis said. He said there was no evidence of forced entry to the home where the girls live with their aunt, who is their legal guardian.

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

Lewis said Thursday night police were still in search and rescue mode, and he said searches would continue throughout the night. "We have not lost hope," he said.

The sheriff said the department is encouraging hunters familiar with their hunting areas to start their own searches beginning at 7 a.m. today.

Dive teams searched a local pond Wednesday night, and scores of police officers from across the region scoured several square miles of dense woods on Christmas Eve. They brought in helicopters and dogs to aid their search.

Police also released a photograph of a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup used by Leggs and they asked anyone who may have seen the champagne/tan-colored vehicle to contact authorities.

Sarah is white, 4-feet-8 and weighs 78 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes. When she disappeared, she was wearing red fuzzy pajama bottoms with Christmas trees on them and a pink John Deere T-shirt.

Leggs, a former boyfriend of the aunt, is being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center without bail, Lewis said.

Sex offender being held in Md. girl's disappearance 12/24/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2009 9:53pm]

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