10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

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Normal 10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:07 pm

February 19, 2014

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A southwestern Missouri man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 10-year-old Hailey Owens.

Craig Michael Wood, 45, of Springfield, was also charged with armed criminal action and child kidnapping, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson told reporters Wednesday.

He praised the community's response to the case.

"It is a tragedy that it was not quick enough to save Hailey," Patterson said.

Wood is being held without bond.

Hailey's body was found earlier at a home where Wood's been living, police said. She was allegedly abducted Tuesday afternoon.

An Amber Alert was issued after two witnesses told police that a man pulled Hailey, of Springfield, into a gold Ford Ranger, while she was walking about a block from her home, according to a probable cause document.

The man pulled up next to the girl and asked her for directions, one of the witnesses said. Hailey turned away from the car. The man opened his driver's-side door and motioned for her to come back, according to the witness. She took a couple of steps closer, and the man "lunged out of the vehicle, grabbed the girl with his left hand and threw her into the truck 'like a rag doll,'" the probable cause document said.

Both witnesses gave the same description of the man and his vehicle, and one of them was able to get the license plate number.

Police traced the plates back to Wood's parents, who told them that their son drove the car.

Police went to Wood's home on Tuesday night and, after he drove up to the residence, took him in for questioning. Officers who did an initial search of the house for Hailey could smell bleach in the basement, and the floor was wet. After getting a search warrant, investigators found Hailey's body in a storage bin. She had suffered what appeared to be a gunshot to her head, according to police.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Hailey knew Wood.

Since 1998, Wood has been employed by Springfield Public Schools, working as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School, according to a statement from the schools. He has since been suspended.

Hailey was a student at Westport Elementary School. She attended Bowerman Elementary School last year.

"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," said Superintendent Norm Ridder.

He added: "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."


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Normal Re: 10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:51 am

Suspect held in Hailey Owens’ death as Springfield, Mo., mourns a tragedy close to home

February 19
BY LAURA BAUER AND MATT CAMPBELL
The Kansas City Star

Craig Michael Wood charged in slaying of 10-year-old Hailey Owens

Probable-cause statement in the Craig Michael Wood case

After the treats and the passing out of holiday cards, Hailey’s fourth-grade teacher put on some music. And the parent helpers — including Hailey’s mother — got to see the kids go at it.

“They got to shake their groove thing, and Hailey was in the midst of it all,” said Gary Tew, principal of Westport Elementary School in Springfield. “That’s what the kids are going to remember about her. And her mom got to see her in that light, too.”

Days after that party, and after news hit Tuesday night that 10-year-old Hailey had been abducted near her home, students learned that their outgoing friend — the girl known to help kindergartners hang up their coats in the morning — had been murdered.

“It has completely shocked this community,” said Joe Bridges, a Springfield resident who has helped organize a weekend vigil in the little girl’s memory. “People can’t believe this would happen. It’s just the fact that she wasn’t far from her home, then instantly, poof, she’s gone.”

On Wednesday, a middle school football coach was charged with Hailey’s murder. According to court documents, Craig Michael Wood, 45, of Springfield, is accused of snatching Hailey from the street and, in front of witnesses, throwing her into his pickup truck.

Early Wednesday morning, investigators discovered Hailey’s body in Wood’s house. According to court documents, she had been shot at the base of her skull, and there appeared to be ligature marks on her arms.

Investigators found a .22-caliber shell casing in the basement, the documents said.

The body was found inside two trash bags and inside a plastic storage tote in the basement, which smelled strongly of bleach. The floor was wet, and there were bottles of bleach in the basement.

Wood was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping. He is being held without bond in the Greene County jail. His first court appearance could be today.

First-degree murder carries a possible death penalty.

“This case is still under investigation,” Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson said Wednesday. “We just have very preliminary facts at this point. We will consult with the police department and also consult with the family before we make that decision.”

Hailey’s family and friends could only reel at her disappearance.

“All I can say right now is I miss her and I love her,” her father, Markus Owens, told a Springfield television station.

Several counselors were at Hailey’s school Wednesday morning, as well as another school she attended last year and at Pleasant View Middle School, where Wood was a coach and paraprofessional.

Monday was a holiday and Hailey had been off sick on Tuesday, so her classmates had not seen her since the Valentine’s Day party. And though she had been at Westport for only a little more than a year, she had made a big impression on students and teachers.

“She was a really caring person,” Tew said. “If a new student came into the classroom, Hailey would be the one to say, ‘Hey, come over to my team.’ She would take care of others.”

News of Wood’s arrest shocked family and friends. He apparently never married and did not have children. A friend who met Wood at his parents’ home said he was nice and polite.

A co-worker at Pleasant View said Wood, in addition to coaching football, supervised students each day in the in-school suspension room. Nothing stood out as different about Wood except for his long hair, which contrasted with the appearance of other school employees, the co-worker said.

School spokeswoman Teresa Bledsoe said Wood was initially hired as a temporary employee who worked as a substitute teacher before he was hired full time in 2006. He has coached football since 1998 and was also an assistant boys’ basketball coach.

But Wood didn’t socialize with his neighbors, according to Dena Atchley, who lives five houses away from him.

Atchley saw him drive his truck to work every morning, passing her teenage daughter who was walking to her bus stop. Wood never approached her daughter or spoke to Atchley.

His arrest unsettled neighbors, Atchley said.

Missouri court records indicate Wood pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in 1990. He was also convicted in 2001 for the illegal taking of wildlife.

Wood’s father, Jim Wood of Ash Grove, Mo., said he spoke with his son Tuesday night but would not say whether it was before the arrest or give details about their conversation.

“I can tell you it is just a tragedy,” Jim Wood said. “We’re stunned, for everybody who knows him.”

Hailey was abducted shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday in the 3200 block of West Lombard Street, not far from her home. Authorities think she was walking from a friend’s house.

Carlos and Michelle Edwards were in their garage and saw what happened.

They told police a girl was walking along the street when a man in a pickup truck asked her for directions. The girl turned to walk away but the man called her to him. When the girl took one or two steps closer, the man grabbed her and threw her into the truck “like a rag doll,” Michelle Edwards told police. The truck sped away.

Michelle Edwards was able to get the truck’s license plate number, and they both gave police a description of the man. A couple of witnesses chased on foot. Another one got into a car and tried to follow but lost the truck.

Police issued a news release about the abduction and posted information on social media, including details about the victim, the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle. Police also sent information to the Missouri Highway Patrol. An Amber Alert was issued shortly after 7 p.m.

Police tracked the license plate to Jim Wood in Ash Grove, who told them his son drove that vehicle. Police were watching his home at 1538 E. Stanford St. in Springfield when Craig Wood pulled into the driveway about 8:30 p.m.

According to court documents, Wood threw a roll of duct tape into the bed of the truck when he saw officers. Wood matched the witnesses’ description and was taken in for questioning. The documents say he initially told police he went straight home from work but later said he drove around for a while. He denied having contact with Hailey.

Police checked Wood’s house for signs of Hailey and smelled bleach. After obtaining a search warrant they found her body.

Authorities also searched the Dutch Maid Laundry in Springfield.

Attendant Tressa Brown arrived at work about 7 a.m. Wednesday and said police and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation were inside the laundromat. She said Wood is believed to have used one washer and two dryers Tuesday evening.

“They took all of his laundry,” Brown said of authorities. “They took at least five bags of laundry.”

About three and a half hours passed between Hailey’s abduction and Wood’s arrest.

Prosecutor Patterson praised the actions of the witnesses and the work of law enforcement.

“To locate this suspect, this offender, within just over three hours is a remarkable response,” Patterson said. “It is a tragedy that it was not quick enough to save Hailey, but I don’t believe there’s anything else they could have done in this case to have done that. We are fortunate that through all their actions, however, we were able to capture him and he will be brought to justice.”

Already, more than 1,000 people have reached out through social media saying they want to attend Saturday night’s candlelight march organized by Bridges, owner of JBE Entertainment. The march down Commercial Street begins at 8 p.m.

As a single father of a 7-year-old boy, Bridges said he felt compelled to do something.

A national campaign hit social media Wednesday afternoon to honor Hailey with lit porch lights. By Wednesday night, lights were on in her memory from Joplin, Monett and Platte City to parts of Nebraska, Ohio and Florida.

“Lights on in Higginsville, MO,” wrote one woman on the Porch Lights for Hailey Owens Facebook page. “Praying for peace and comfort for this family … Rest In Peace sweet angel.”

Said another:

“Porch light on in Carpio, North Dakota .… prayers for the family.”

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Normal Probable Cause Statement

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:54 am

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Normal Re: 10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:19 am

Yet another case of a child simply walking home and being abducted in broad daylight.


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Normal Re: 10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:24 am

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Normal Re: 10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

Post by misshesitation on Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:42 am

So Sad! Rest in Peace Beautiful Hailey!
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Normal Hailey's Mom Gives Interview

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:04 pm

Feb 20, 2014

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -
The body of a young girl taken from her Missouri home was found earlier this week.

Hailey Owens, 10, was abducted from her front yard late Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses said they saw the girl talk to a man for a moment, then was taken against her will. The girl's disappearance sparked an Amber Alert.

Owens' mother agreed to an interview with KY3 in Springfield on Thursday, saying she was finding comfort through her family, friends and faith.
"Hailey was my little angel," she said.

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The alert was cancelled early Wednesday morning after officer's spotted a pickup wanted in connection to the kidnapping at a south Springfield home.

Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson has filed first degree murder and kidnapping charges against 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood.

Paul Williams, Springfield Police Chief, said Wood was sitting outside his home in the pickup.

Detectives found the body of a young girl inside his home around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Wood was booked into the Greene County, Missouri jail on suspicion of First Degree Murder. 

Police said Wood is refusing to communicate with authorities. At this time, detectives have not been able to determine a connection between the suspect and the victim. But the Springfield School district confirms Wood was an employee for the district.

Dan Patterson, Greene County prosecutors, charged Wood with first-degree murder Wednesday evening. He also faces kidnapping charges.

Authorities believe Wood acted alone.

According to court documents, Hailey died from a single gunshot wound at the back of her skull.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] crime scene technicians found Hailey's body folded into two trash bags and crammed into a plastic tote. Wood apparently tried to conceal the tote in the basement, according to court records.

The smell of bleach was strong in the basement and authorities said they found evidence that Wood had used bottles of bleach in the basement.

Under Missouri law, the child-kidnapping charge could allow Patterson to seek the death penalty against Wood if Wood is convicted.

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Normal Link To Booking Info For Craig Michael Wood

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:06 pm

click the following for

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Normal Craig Michael Wood, Mo. coach charged in Hailey Owens' death, appears in court

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:32 am

ALAN SCHER ZAGIER
Feb 21, 2014
12 hours ago

Evidence against the man accused of killing a 10-year-old Springfield girl sheds new light on Craig Wood and the case against him.KSHB

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A middle-school football coach accused in the kidnapping and killing of a 10-year-old girl in southwest Missouri plans to plead not guilty, his public defender said in a brief hearing Friday.

Craig Michael Wood, 45, is accused of snatching Hailey Owens as she walked home from her best friend's house Tuesday evening in Springfield. Neighbors said they watched in horror as Hailey, just two blocks from her home, was pulled into a pickup truck that quickly sped away.

Court records indicate her body was found in Wood's basement, stuffed into trash bags and plastic containers. Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said Hailey was shot in the back of the head and had ligature marks on her wrists, suggesting she was tied up.

An autopsy is pending.

At the brief Friday morning arraignment, Public defender Chris Hatley said Wood plans to contest the charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action in the fourth-grader's death.

Wood appeared via video from the Greene County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He spoke only briefly to answer several questions from the judge. Hailey's parents, older brother and five other family members also attended.

Assistant prosecutor Todd Myers challenged Wood's use of a public defender after he said police found evidence of a $1 million trust in Wood's name.


"I think he can afford his own attorney," Myers said.

Hatley replied that he appreciated the prosecutor's concern for Wood's rights but that "it's frankly none of his business."

Circuit Judge Dan Imhof said he would consider the matter. He scheduled a follow-up court appearance in March and a preliminary hearing in April.

Wood was a 16-year football coach at a middle school in Springfield, about 160 miles southeast of Kansas City. He also worked as a substitute teacher and teacher's aide overseeing suspensions.

Police said they found Wood holding duct tape as he left his father's pickup truck parked outside his home Tuesday night, just hours after Hailey went missing. Court records indicate the floor of the basement where the girl's body was found was still damp with bleach -- presumably used to clean the crime scene.

Patterson has said he would consider seeking the death penalty.

Wood had little criminal history, according to online court records. He pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in 1990 in Greene County and was fined $100. Wood also was convicted in 2001 for illegal taking of wildlife, a misdemeanor. Friends said Wood is an amateur musician and avid hunter.

Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox said there is no indication that Wood is a suspect in any other violent crime involving children.

At least three people told police they saw the pickup truck drive back and forth along the street before the driver stopped to ask Hailey directions, then he dragged her inside the vehicle. One homeowner gave chase on foot and another in his car.

Family and friends recalled a child who loved to laugh, smile and dance.

"She was pure gold," said her aunt, Sara Wells.

Gary Tew, principal at Westport Elementary School, said Hailey was a "happy-go-lucky kiddo" who made sure new students felt welcome and belonged to an afterschool club that taught character lessons through a local church. He said he last saw her on Valentine's Day, recalling her enthusiastic dancing at a class party.

Thousands are expected to attend a candlelight vigil in her honor Saturday night.

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I would like to know WTH would cause a person w/little or no criminal history who has worked in the school system for over a decade to not only accost a child but shoot her in the head?? Was this guy stalking her or did he 'suddenly go nuts'?  Sarcasm  I find it hard to believe that this is his first rodeo. Would bet he's approached other kids but they were lucky enough to get away. Would like to know if LE took his computer(s) and if there is any child porn on them as I bet there is. I think he sexually assaulted her. I HOPE I'm wrong. And, WHY shoot her in the head?

When I think of how scared she was it makes me sick. And, her poor parents and all the kids that attended school w/her. How do you explain this to your child? But, it's IMPERATIVE All parents have 'the talk' about "stranger danger".

As I type this trying to make sense of it all I have to wonder: Did Wood know the parents and had some vendetta against them? NONE of this makes sense!!  

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Normal Child porn found at home of Hailey Owens' accused killer. Three-ring binder containing pornographic photos of kids found

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:37 am

OMG!!!!

UPDATED 6:11 PM CST Feb 21, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. —A police search of the southwest Missouri home of a middle-school football coach accused in a 10-year-old girl's kidnapping and death found child pornography and more than a dozen guns, according to search warrants released Friday.

Officers retrieved a three-ring binder containing pornographic photos of young children at the home of Craig Michael Wood, the documents released by Springfield police say. Investigators also seized computers, cameras, 30 video recordings, handwritten journals, a spent .22 caliber shell casing and a hat believed to have been worn by fourth-grader Hailey Owens.

Wood is accused of snatching Hailey as she walked home from her best friend's house this week, just two blocks from her own home. Neighbors said they watched in horror and unsuccessfully gave chase as Hailey was pulled into a pickup truck that sped away.

At a brief hearing Friday, Wood's lawyer said he plans to plead not guilty. Wood appeared via video from the Greene County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He spoke only briefly to answer several questions from the judge. Hailey's parents, older brother and five other family members also attended.

Court records released earlier as well as the search warrants indicate her body was found in Wood's basement, stuffed into trash bags and plastic containers. Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said Hailey was shot in the back of the head and had ligature marks on her wrists, suggesting she was tied up. A preliminary autopsy is complete but won't be released publicly because the criminal case remains open, according to the county medical examiner's office.

Patterson said he is considering whether to seek the death penalty.

At the arraignment, public defender Chris Hatley said Wood plans to contest the charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action.

Assistant prosecutor Todd Myers challenged Wood's use of a public defender after he said police found evidence of a $1 million trust in Wood's name. The source of that income is not clear: Both Wood's father and an attorney representing the suspect's parents did not return telephone calls seeking comment on Friday.

"I think he can afford his own attorney," Myers said.

Hatley replied that he appreciated the prosecutor's concern for Wood's rights but that "it's frankly none of his business."

Circuit Judge Dan Imhof said he would consider the matter. He scheduled a follow-up court appearance in March and a preliminary hearing in April.

Wood was a 16-year football coach at a middle school in Springfield, about 160 miles southeast of Kansas City. He also worked as a substitute teacher and teacher's aide overseeing suspensions.

Police said they found Wood holding duct tape as he left his father's pickup truck parked outside his home Tuesday night, just hours after Hailey went missing. Court records indicate the floor of the basement where the girl's body was found was still damp with bleach - presumably used to clean the crime scene.

Wood had little criminal history, according to online court records. He pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in 1990 in Greene County and was fined $100. Wood also was convicted in 2001 for illegal taking of wildlife, a misdemeanor. Friends said Wood is an amateur bluegrass musician and hunter who never married or had children and whose parents raised show horses.

Those who knew Hailey recalled a child who loved to laugh, smile and dance. Thousands are expected to attend a candlelight vigil in her honor Saturday night.

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Normal Search Warrants ~ Warning...GRAPHIC!!

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:43 am

This is a MUST READ!! Reveals 'possible body parts.' HORRIFIC!!

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Normal Funeral service for Hailey Owens will be 'celebration of life'. The visitation will be on Tuesday with the funeral the following day.

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:22 am

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POSTED: 02:41 PM CST Feb 24, 2014    UPDATED: 05:55 PM CST Feb 24, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -
City officials expected 6,000 people at the candlelight vigil for Hailey Owens on Saturday night, but more than 10,000 people were there.  The huge turnout is just one indication of how hard the loss has hit the Springfield community and beyond.  Mayor Bob Stephens highlighted that crowd during a speech on Monday afternoon.

"She's Springfield's child.  Parents in this community realize this could be their child, and I think that's what makes it hit a little bit closer to home," said Clay Adams of Greenlawn Funeral Home.

Adams is planning the remembrance services for the 10-year-old girl who was abducted near her home and killed within four hours in Springfield last week.  Adams said the child's family feels the overwhelming support pouring in from around the nation.

"They know this community cares about them," he said.

Ridgecrest Baptist Church,  2210 W. Republic Road, is opening its doors for the crowds expected at the visitation on Tuesday.  The goal of the service is to give every person affected by the tragedy a chance to mourn and to celebrate Hailey's life.

"That is our hope -- that we can help the family share Hailey with the public," Adams said.

The family wants Hailey to be remembered for being kindhearted and full of life.

"The important thing to remember is not to forget this family a week down the line, two weeks down the line, as a community to continue to support them and love on them," Adams said.

The Missouri Victims Compensation Fund is covering for most of the service costs, according to Adams, with Greenlawn Funeral Home paying for all other expenses.

Visitation is at Ridgecrest Baptist Church from 4 until 8.  The funeral service will be at 2 on Wednesday, also at Ridgecrest.

----

"Springfield is not Mayberry"

Mayor Bob Stephens made a speech on Monday afternoon at which he offered words of support and encouragement.

"Last week, the entire city of Springfield was stunned by an event that was so random and so violent that it violated all our deeply-held definitions of a civil community.  The kidnapping and death of 10-year-old Hailey Owens triggered within our city an outpouring of shock, anger and grief.  Tears were never very far from the surface for many of us that evening and into the following days.

"Many, many of us gave our children and grandchildren an extra tight hug that evening.  And, for some of us, if our children no longer live here in town, it was an evening of very emotional telephone calls.

"But in the way that Springfield folks react to adversity, we reacted.  Within hours, a fund for funeral expenses had been set up at Empire Bank.  An informal and impromptu place of mourning was created at the place where Hailey was kidnapped with people leaving notes and mementoes.  A grass-roots effort to organize a Candlelight Vigil this past Saturday on Commercial Street began and grew into a huge event.

"And a world-wide movement to turn porch lights on for Hailey rapidly circled around the globe through social media.  I know my daughters in Kansas and Colorado had their porch lights on, as did my sister who lives in Europe—all mourning for Hailey Owens, her family, and for what their home town was going through.

"The Candlelight March Saturday evening truly provided an opportunity for our community to experience a needed time of catharsis.

"Because of how rapidly the events unfolded last Wednesday and Thursday, our community really did not have the opportunity to move through the several stages of grief.  Many of us have been stuck at the second level of anger and this march in honor of Hailey Owens gave us the chance to dissipate that anger and grief and begin thinking about how to move forward.

"With upwards of 10,000 people walking and lighting candles to show support for Hailey’s family, this speaks volumes about the kind of city we are.  Springfield is a community of 160,000 people and, if 99 ½ % of us are good people -- and I sincerely believe we are -- that still leaves 800 bad people out there. Sadly, Hailey Owens encountered one of those last week.

"So, as we move from considering ourselves living in a large small town to living in a small city, we will have to change some of our assumptions.  Springfield is not Mayberry.

"I want to thank Chief Williams and his entire police department for the quick reaction time and the professional investigation of this crime.  Within three and a half hours of the 911 call, a suspect was in custody.  That was not, unfortunately, in time for Hailey Owens.

"The witnesses who obtained the license numbers and the color and make of the vehicle were a tremendous asset to the investigation. They have set the bar for personal involvement at a new level and we very much thank them.

"A huge thank you must be extended from the community to the folks on C-Street who hosted the Candlelight Vigil and kept it reverent and civil.  C-Street today is not the same as the Commercial Street of 15-20 years ago and a lot of our own local people learned that Saturday evening.

"And I also want to say something that you don’t often hear from people in the political realm.  I want to sincerely thank our local reporters and editors for the professional and respectful way in which they have covered this very difficult story.  Their professionalism stood in stark contrast to that of the reporters who arrived in Springfield from out of town venues.  It was very noticeable and very much appreciated by those of us who deal with reporters and editors daily.

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Normal Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson Announced That He Will Pursue The Death Penalty Against Craig Michael Wood

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:14 am

06/20/2014

A youth football coach charged with killing a 10-year-old Springfield girl who was kidnapped just two blocks from her home could face the death penalty if convicted, a southwest Missouri prosecutor said Friday.
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Craig Michael Wood
Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson announced that he will pursue the death penalty against Craig Michael Wood, 46, who is accused of raping and killing fourth-grader Hailey Owens in February after throwing her into his pickup truck while she walked home from her best friend’s house.

Patterson said Hailey’s death was “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, or depravity of mind,” one of the legal standards known as aggravated circumstances required to seek death in first-degree murder cases in Missouri.

Wood has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed without bond. He is charged with murder, kidnapping, rape, sodomy and armed criminal action in connection with Hailey’s death. Her body was found wrapped in trash bags inside a storage bin in Wood’s basement.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the last Missouri execution for a Greene County conviction was 25 years ago, when George “Tiny” Mercer was killed by lethal injection for the 1978 rape and strangulation death of a Kansas City area waitress. Mercer’s execution was Missouri’s first after a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment was lifted in 1976.

Wood was a 16-year football coach at a Springfield middle school. He also worked as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aide overseeing suspensions. A police search of his home found child pornography and more than a dozen guns, according to search warrants.

Woods’ next court appearance is in late August, with a trial not expected for another year. He also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Hailey’s biological parents.


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Normal Re: 10 Year Old Hailey Owens Found Dead After Her Abduction~ Craig Michael Wood Who Was Employed By Springfield Public Schools Is Arrested

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