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Craig WoodSPRINGFIELD, MO – Police have arrested and charged 45-year-old Craig Wood with the abduction and murder of Hailey Owens, the 10-year-old abducted in broad daylight as she walked home from a friend’s house Tuesday afternoon.

Police were called after a couple watched a tan Ford Ranger stop near Owen as she walked down the street and heard the driver ask her for directions. Owens took a step or two toward the truck before the male driver lunged out of the truck, grabbed Owens with his left hand and threw her into the truck “like a rag doll” before fleeing the scene.

Other neighbors chased after the truck, but were unable to stop him. Luckily, the couple were able to give police a detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle, including the exact license plate number. This helped police quickly determine the truck was owned by Jim and Regina Wood, who told them the truck was driven by their son, 45-year-old Craig Wood.

When detectives arrived at Craig Wood’s home a few hours after Owens’ abduction, he drove up in the truck police were looking for and tossed a roll of duct tape in the bed of the truck as he got out. When taken in for questioning, Wood told police he had nothing to do with any abduction. He told them he’d just returned from work at Pleasant View Middle School, where he was a seventh-grade football coach and teacher’s aide who supervises in-school suspensions.

Hailey OwensDuring this interview with police, a safety sweep of was conducted inside his home. In the basement, officers smelled a strong odor of bleach and found that the basement floor was wet. A search warrant was obtained and crime scene technicians would find Owens’ body in the basement, stuffed inside a plastic storage container. She’d been shot in the back of the head and had apparent ligature marks on her arms.

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Woods has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping. He’s looking at a possible death penalty and has stopped talking.

“There’s no connection that we’ve been able to determine at this time between the victim and the suspect,” Police Chief Williams said. Hailey’s aunt believes Wood was on a mission to find a girl Tuesday night. “And it just so happened he found my girl,” she said.

This is one of those terrible stories that destroy any headway I make when convincing people that they are more likely to win the lottery than to have their kid be abducted and killed by a stranger because people do win the lottery, and kids do get abducted and killed by strangers.

What makes this story even scarier is that even though everyone did everything right – Hailey reportedly fought her attacker, alert witnesses got all the details right, and other neighbors chased after Wood – it wasn’t enough.

I don’t get emotional over these stories, but watching Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson try not to break down as he tells reporters these same facts is pretty rough.

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