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Suspect Named, Kidnapping Charges Filed

FBI New Orleans November 04, 2010
  • Craig C. Betbeze (504) 816-3274

Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly, United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, Western District of Louisiana, and David W. Welker, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division of the FBI, announce the following:

On the evening of Oct. 8, 2010, human skeletal remains were found in a wooded area north of Harrisonburg, Louisiana. The remains were found by hunters who reported it to the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office. Since then, numerous investigative agencies, including the Louisiana State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Office of Louisiana Attorney General, the LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) and law enforcement throughout the country have been involved in the case.

On Oct. 26, 2010, the remains were positively identified, based primarily on dental records, as being Lexis Kaye Roberts, age 12, of Las Vegas, Nev. Lexis was last seen with her mother, Suellen Roberts, and Thomas Sanders, traveling in a silver 2001 Kia Spectra sedan with Nevada license plate 153UCR.

Today the FBI announces that a federal kidnapping warrant was obtained in the Western District of Louisiana charging Thomas Steven Sanders with the abduction of Lexis Roberts. On Sept. 3, 2010, Sanders was captured on film purchasing ammunition at a local Wal-Mart in Las Vegas. The forensic anthropologist reported that Lexis suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The ammunition Sanders purchased was consistent with the caliber weapon used during the homicide.

In 1994, Thomas Steven Sanders was legally declared dead in the state of Mississippi by family members. However, we now know that he is still alive and has ties to several states across the country. We have been able to obtain photographs of Sanders that illustrate how his appearance has varied over the last several years. Known associates have provided information that Sanders is missing his upper teeth and has only two lower teeth. He also is reported to have a tattoo on his chest of an unknown design and a scar on his abdomen. The most reliable recent physical description for Sanders is as follows: white male, age 53, 5’8”, 200 or more pounds with brown eyes. Sanders has worked as a welder, a scrap metal collector, a night watchman, a pallet fabricator and a handyman.

Sanders was last seen driving a silver 2001 Kia Spectra with notable damage on the passenger side doors. It is likely that the Nevada license plate may have been replaced, possibly with stolen plates, to avoid detection. Sanders also has a history of exchanging vehicles through auto salvage yards.

If you have information or have seen any one of these individuals since Sept. 3, 2010, you are urged to call the tipline: 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

Car of Thomas Steven Sanders (11/4/10)

Thomas Steven Sanders (11/4/10)

Victim Lexis Kaye Roberts (11/4/10)