- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 24, 2009

SALISBURY, Md. — Police have charged a registered child sex offender in the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl on Maryland’s Eastern Shore as authorities continued searching for the child Thursday.

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

The search continued Thursday for Sarah, who last was seen Tuesday night at her home. Dive teams searched a local pond Wednesday night, and law officers from across the region helped the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office search for the girl in several square miles of dense woods. Officers are using helicopters and dogs to aid their search.

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

Leggs is an acquaintance of Sarah’s family, Sheriff Mike Lewis said.

He is listed on both the Maryland and Delaware sex offender registries. The Maryland listing notes that he is a child sex offender, but details about his conviction in Maryland were not immediately available.

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

Online court records indicate Leggs has a history of frequent contact with police. He’s been convicted of assault several times. Leggs also is awaiting trial on charges of burglary and destruction of property in Ocean City, along with several traffic charges.

Leggs also faced domestic violence allegations involving his wife in 2006, and a judge granted her a protective order. The couple divorced in April, and Leggs’ former wife took a new last name for herself and their child.

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