Craig Wood, 45, charged with kidnapping murder of 10-year-old girl: EDITED BELOW

February 20, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Good morning:

Terrible new case out of Springfield, MO involving 10-year-old Hailey Owens, who was reported missing two days ago. Due to the assistance of eyewitnesses to her abduction, who provided a description of the vehicle in which she was abducted and the license plate number, police have recovered her remains and arrested a suspect, 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood, of Springfield, MO. in St. Louis is reporting:

According to the probable cause statement, a woman was in her garage around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday when she saw Wood’s Ford Ranger pull up to Owens and ask her where Springfield Street was. The witness said Hailey tried to walk away from the vehicle, but Wood opened the door of his truck and said “Hey, come here for a minute,” extending his hand to her, motioning for her to come over.

The witness says Wood lunged out of the vehicle and grabbed Owens with his left hand and threw her into the truck “like a rag doll.” He then drove away from the scene at a high rate of speed. According to court documents, it’s believed Owens was walking home from a friend’s house.

“Our witnesses said it happened just that quick,” Police Chief Paul Williams said.

Neighbor Carlos Edwards told the Springfield News-Leader he ran after the truck as his wife tried to get the license plate number after seeing the abduction. Police say another witness got into a car and tried to pursue Wood’s vehicle, but lost track of it.

Based on the information provided by the witnesses, police obtained a search warrant for the residence of Craig Michael Wood, 45, an athletic coach and teacher’s aide at Pleasant View, a K-8 school in the Springfield Public Schools system. Hailey was not a student at this school and apparently did not know Mr. Wood.

During the search, they found her dismembered body in two plastic garbage bags in the basement and arrested Mr. Wood.

Authorities say Wood pulled up in the truck, belonging to his father, around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday as officers were waiting for him at his home in the 1500 block of E. Stanford St.

The officers approached Wood as he got out of the truck, and noticed he had a roll of duct tape in his hand. When he saw the officers, he threw the duct tape into the bed of the truck.

Ligature marks were found on her arms and she died from a single gunshot wound to the base of her skull. Police recovered a spent .22 caliber casing from the basement.

Wood has been charged with first degree murder. Go here to read the graphic court documents, including the affidavit for probable cause.

This could become a death penalty case.

EDIT: Apparently she was not dismembered. Her body was folded over at the waist and double-bagged rather than bagged in two separate bags. I apologize for my mistake and any confusion that it might have caused.

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