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'Legally dead' man pleads not guilty to kidnapping

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Posted: Nov 19, 2010 1:46 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2010 1:46 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: alexandria, mississippi, declared, dead, abduction, kidnapping, lexis, roberts, thomas, sanders, wbrz, louisiana

ALEXANDRIA - A Mississippi man who was declared legally dead in 1994 pleaded not guilty Friday to a federal kidnapping charge in the abduction of a 12-year-old girl who was found dead in remote Louisiana woods.

Thomas Steven Sanders, suspected of shooting Lexis Roberts of Las Vegas before dumping her body, said little Friday while in federal court in Louisiana. Shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, he spent much of the time reading documents with his lawyer.

Sanders, also is a suspect in the disappearance of the girl's mother, Suellen Roberts. Authorities believe a body found Monday in Arizona may be hers. Authorities are trying to positively identify the body with dental records.

Sanders, who drifted through several states after he was declared dead, was arrested Sunday in Gulfport, Miss.

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