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1,600 attend memorial for slain Wicomico girl

By Arthur Hirsch
Sunday, January 3, 2010; C04

SALISBURY -- Friends, family and law enforcement officials came in from the cold Saturday morning to share their grief, disbelief and recollections of 11-year-old Sarah Haley Foxwell, whose body was found in a wooded patch of northern Wicomico County on Christmas Day.

As about 1,600 people filed into Emmanuel Wesleyan Church, two projection screens flanking the broad, carpeted stage showed pictures taken of the blond, blue-eyed Sarah "Haleybugs" from the time she was an infant: in a highchair, on the beach, drifting on a lime green inner tube, blowing a giant pink gum bubble.

Jordyn Knierem, 11, who went to school with Sarah at Wicomico Middle School, said she and her friend were "inseparable. We could spend 24 hours together and not get bored. I see this as impossible. It proves you're not promised tomorrow."

Sarah's mother, Jennifer Foxwell, cried as she read a poem that compared the child to a budding flower taken away at the threshold of opening. "I'll miss you, baby, and I love you, Haleybugs," her mother said.

Sarah was buried in a private family ceremony in Salisbury earlier in the week. She disappeared from her home Dec. 22, setting off a search that included 3,000 volunteers. Her body was found late on Christmas. Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis described her death as a homicide. He said Saturday that she died of "multiple causes."

Thomas J. Leggs Jr., 30, has been charged with burglary and kidnapping in the girl's disappearance and is being held without bond at the Wicomico County jail. His attorney said last week that his client denies any involvement in the crime.

Leggs is a registered child sex offender in Maryland and Delaware, stemming from convictions in 1998 and 2001. He briefly dated the slain girl's aunt and is alleged to have known where the family kept a key hidden outside.

-- Baltimore Sun

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