Prosecutor Holds Back Tears While Announcing Charges Against Suspect


SPRINGFIELD, MO. (WIBW)- "My office is committed to seeking justice for Hailey," said Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson.

A grade school paraprofessional and coach was officially charged Wednesday with kidnapping and killing a little girl.

10-year-old Hailey Owens was abducted just blocks from her home Tuesday night.

Wood worked as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at a Springfield Elementary School, however, Police say Hailey did not attend his school and they do not believe he knew her.

A criminal complaint released Wednesday reveals graphic details about what he allegedly did to Hailey.

Prosecutor Dan Patterson fought tears as he announced his office has charged 45-year-old school employee Craig Michael Wood with first degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping of 10-year-old Hailey Owens.

"I want to express my appreciation to the citizens who were aware and alerted law enforcement and to the Springfield Police Department," says Patterson as he cries.

A criminal complaint states officers located Wood around 8:30 Tuesday night at his Springfield home and he agreed to be interviewed at police headquarters.

The complaint also states that officers searching the home smelled of bleach in the basement.

And they later found the body of a small child concealed in two trash bags inside a plastic storage tote. The complaint says the child was shot at the base of the skull, and marks where her arms had been bound.

Parents who live next door to Wood's were shocked to hear what allegedly happened on their street.

"This is an eye opener that you can't even let them go to the car to grab something," said a neighbor.

Police say Wood pulled Hailey into his truck while she was walking to a friend's house just before 5 Tuesday night.

Springfield Police issued an AMBER alert 2 hours later at 7 p.m. which the Kansas Bureau Investigation joined.

Special Agent Mark Malick says, in situations like this, every minute counts.

"76 percent of all children who are abducted by strangers are dead within 3 hours," says Malick.

"3 hours is a remarkable response. It is a tragedy that is was not quick enough to save Hailey," said Patterson.

Wood will make his first court appearance Thursday. Patterson says a decision on whether to pursue the death penalty will not be made until further reviewing the facts and meeting with Hailey's family.


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