Nationwide manhunt for fugitive ends in Gulfport

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A nationwide manhunt ended in the arrest of a Mississippi man Sunday morning in Harrison County. The FBI says 53-year-old Thomas Steve Sanders is accused of kidnapping a 12-year-old girl Las Vegas girl who was later found dead. He was arrested at the Flying J Truck Stop off Canal Road in Harrison County around 7am Sunday morning.

Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said his department was working with the FBI on the case. Harrison County Sheriff's Deputies, along with Gulfport FBI Agents of the Jackson Division, made the arrest.

Sanders was wanted on federal kidnapping charges in the disappearance of 12-year-old Lexis Kaye Roberts. Authorities say hunters found the skeletal remains of the young girl early last month in a wooded area north of Harrisonburg, Louisiana.

In a strange twist of events, Sanders, according to the Associated Press, was declared dead by a Mississippi court in 1994. Court documents, the AP says it obtained, showed Sanders abandoned his family in 1987 and was thus declared legally dead.

Clearly alive and now under arrest, the FBI says law enforcement from across the country were involved leading up to his capture. At this time, no murder charges have been filed in the case.

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