10 Year Old Hailey Owens was walking close to her home in the 3200 block of West Lombard in Springfield, Mo. Yesterday at about 4:30 pm when a man possibly driving a gold Ford Ranger truck grabbed her and drove off with her. An Amber Alert was issued about 7 pm for the girl.
While investigation Hailey’s abduction the police found the suspect’s vehicle at a house in the 1500 block of E. Stanford. The police took the man they suspected to be the driver of the Ford truck to their headquarters for questioning, leaving officers there to search the man’s property. During the search they indeed did find evidence of foul play.
According to a family friend, the search for the girl has been called off because her body has been found inside the suspect’s home and the Amber Alert has been canceled. The Springfield Police have not confirmed that the body is that of little Hailey Owens. The cause of death has not been announced yet, pending an autopsy report.
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams has identified the suspect as Craig Michael Wood. Jail records show that they have booked Wood on suspicion of 1st degree murder. Wood was a paraprofessional or teacher’s aide in the Springfield School District. He worked with the district since 1998. He also served as an athletic coach. He has now been suspended from work until this matter has been resolved.
Apparently Wood already has a criminal record. He pleaded guilty in 1990 for possession of a controlled substance and was given a suspended execution of his sentence after completing a court-ordered drug counseling program.
My thoughts and prayer are with Hailey Owens family right now. May God be with them during this tragedy.