NEW ORLEANS – After the skeletal remains of a slain Las Vegas girl were found in the Louisiana woods, investigators reached a startling conclusion: The man suspected of kidnapping her was supposed to have died 16 years earlier.
As authorities mount a nationwide manhunt for Thomas Steven Sanders, they are still trying to understand how a man who abandoned his family in 1987 and was declared dead in 1994 lived unnoticed for years. Even though police arrested him several times, they never realized he had been declared dead.
A warrant was issued Thursday accusing Sanders of kidnapping 12-year-old Lexis Roberts, whose skeleton was found last month. Her mother, Suellen Roberts, is missing. Officials say she is not a suspect in Lexis' death — and they hope she has not met with foul play.