Family Says Body of Hailey Owens Found, Elementary School Coach Named as Suspect


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The FBI has joined Springfield police investigators and crime scene techs, in collecting evidence in the abduction and murder of 10-year old Hailey Owens.

Family member say the girls body was found overnight, although police had not yet confirmed that as of 8am.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says Craig Michael Wood was arrested Tuesday night at a house in the 1500 block of E. Stanford, after officers got a tip.  They found a gold Ford pickup truck in the driveway. 

Williams says Wood, a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School, was taken to police headquarters for questioning, then booked into the Greene County Jail on charges of first degree murder.  Formal charges had not been filed as of 8:00am.

Springfield R-12 school superintendent Dr. Norm Ridder issued this statement about Wood:

Last night we learned the terrible news that one of our students had been abducted near her home. This morning, our sadness is compounded by the recent developments in the case of Hailey Owens’ abduction.
 The suspect in this case, Craig Michael Wood, was arrested by Springfield Police Department. Wood has been employed by SPS since Aug. 18, 1998. He works as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School. His employment has been suspended until this matter is resolved.
Hailey is a student at Westport Elementary School and last year she attended Bowerman Elementary School. 
I offer my support to Hailey’s family and to our SPS community. Students and staff at three of our schools are coping with this situation. To support these school communities directly impacted by this tragedy, I have assigned additional counseling staff and school police officers to be on hand until further notice.
We are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials as their investigation continues. Because this is an ongoing investigation, I will not be making any further comments about the situation at this time.

Wednesday morning, agents of the FBI, Springfield investigators and crime scene technicians were collecting evidence and taking photos at the house.

Police plan a press conference at 11:00 am to update the case.


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KOLR 10) -- Springfield police say there is evidence of foul play in the disappearance of 10-year old Hailey Owens.

A family friend, who was with in communication with the family to help organize a search for Hailey, told KOLR10's Brett Martin, the family said a search was no longer necessary because Hailey's body has been found. Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams would not confirm that or take questions.

Williams held a briefing for reporters at 6:30 Wednesday morning at the police command post at National and Bennett.

Williams says officers, acting on a tip, found the suspect's vehicle at a house in the 1500 block of E. Stanford. The man was taken to police headquarters for questioning.
Officers, searching the property on Stanford, found evidence of foul play, Williams said.

Williams identified the suspect in custody as Craig Michael Wood. Online jail records say Wood was booked into the jail on charges of 1st degree murder.

About 30 officers spent the night collecting evidence at the house on Stanford and the crime scene processing will continue today, Williams said.

Police say Hailey was walking near her home in the 3200 block of West Lombard about 4:50 p.m. when a white male - possibly in a gold Ford Ranger pickup- grabbed her and took her.
They say they believe the abduction was random and do not believe Hailey was familiar with the man. A multi-state Amber Alert was issued about 7 p.m.

Wood has a criminal record. According to online court records, he pleaded guilty in 1990 for possession of a controlled substance and was given a suspended execution of his sentence after completing court-ordered drug counseling programs.

To watch the 6:30 a.m. press briefing on the abduction of Hailey Owens, by Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams, click here.

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