Craig Wood charged in death of Hailey Owens

SPRINGFIELD, MO (KTVI) - A man has been charged after the body of missing Hailey Owens was found inside his home early Wednesday morning.

Craig M. Wood has been charged with 1st degree murder, armed criminal action and kidnapping in the death of Hailey.

Hailey went missing Tuesday afternoon after she was allegedly abducted by Wood while playing outside.

Woods was arrested several hours later. The Springfield police chief says during their investigation, Wood refused to answer question.

Early Wednesday morning, police obtained a search warrant for Wood's home.

Police say Hailey Owens' body was found in Wood's basement in a garbage bag inside a plastic storage tote. She had an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Police also found marks that show she was tied up at some point.

FOX 2 has learned that Wood was a paraprofessional, or teacher's aide, in the Springfield School District.  He also served as an athletic coach.  District officials say Wood has worked for the district since 1998.

Superintendent Norm Ridder says Hailey was a student at Westport Elementary School while Wood worked at Pleasant View K-8 School.

"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,"  Ridder said in a news release.

Read Probable Cause Statement

Several people will turn their porch light on Wednesday night in respect for this little girls family: Porch Lights for Hailey Owens

Message from the Springfield Police Department:

We would like to thank all of you, the Springfield community, as well as the dozens of communities near and far that helped spread the word of Hailey's abduction. You often witness the strength of a community in the way they handle a tragic situation, and we couldn't be more proud of the citizens' concern and assistance in this matter. We have also received countless messages of your encouragement and support, and for that, we are truly grateful. We certainly wish more than anything that this event could have had a different conclusion. If there's any positive news in this at all, it's that the suspect is no longer on the streets of Springfield. Please keep the family and friends of Hailey in your thoughts and prayers. #‎HaileyOwens


  • Mary

    This article states:
    Hailey went missing Tuesday afternoon after she was allegedly abducted by Wood while playing outside.

    Woods was arrested several hours later. The Springfield police chief says during their investigation, Wood refused to answer question.

    Early Wednesday morning, police obtained a search warrant for Wood’s home.

    Why did the police wait until Wednesday morning to search Wood’s home? What if the victim had been inside bleeding to death while some judge is being tracked down ?
    If it takes this long to get a search warrant, something needs to be changed. Like “no search warrant necessary in the case of a missing kidnapped person”, especially with eye witnesses.

    • Dave the Cop

      Ok, even though it won’t do any good and will get picked apart, I’m going to summarize the events: around 5pm the call comes in, over the next hour or so, the police get the information needed to enter the Amber Alert, the license plate DID NOT belong/check to the subject so they contacted the registered owner of the truck, they obtained the driver information from the regestered owner, including his address, they watched the address from about 7 for anyone inside the address, at about 8 they observed THE SUSPECT arriving at the address, to which they DETAINED him and ESCORTED him into the residence under EXTIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES. This allowed for a sweep WITHOUT A WARRANT which is very limited. They did not find Hailey or anyone else in the residence but TOOK HIM INTO CUSTODY, QUESTIONED HIM AND BOOKED HIM, MEANWHILE APPLIED FOR A SEARCH WARRANT. When the search warrant was signed by a judge (the law), THEN they did a more thorough search (30+ officers) and subsequently found poor Hailey. Kudos to all involved in the rapid deployment and removal of this threat!


    I totally agree with you Robin, however actually .. If anyone even tries to do this to my kid , the police better come get me and the predator that hurt or killed my baby. Or they won’t make it to a live predator. I can not wrap my brain around adults harming babies no way can I even come close. I lived through my experience in the late sixties, And I may not be able to protect my child 24/7 but the predator has to sleep sometime. So In short I’m saying DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT MY KID. I never leave him alone in the yard, I never let him in front without being right by me, I don’t just drop him off at the bus stop , I don’t just run real quick into the gas station. He is 8 and so Ill be right there ready to put you to sleep and i DONT miss. I see parents leaving their kids alone all the time even younger walking around , ummm HELLO? Its not safe PERIOD. Stop harming kids ! and also STOP leaving them alone parents seriously !!!!!!

  • Jess

    Send his @ss to general population. Let the other convicts who Do not hurt children deal with him. Let his torture begin!! And I hope it’s long and painful!

  • vigilante

    Because it was almost 70 degrees out today. I live 3 blocks from this girl. I believe this person has been in the area before as he fits the description of someone I saw a few months ago prowling our street. I am pissed

  • Sean Fawkes

    I have contacted the sheriffs department and they actually called back to get more information. They said they would be looking into it.

  • michelle

    When fox 2 sent out the 1st email regarding this story they stated that she went missing on MONDAY! That is what had me upset about this….I was lead to believe that the amber alert wasn’t issued for 24 hours!!!

  • ashby04

    Oh stop with your babble. You don’t believe in God fine but stop placing blame toward something you clearly know nothing about. You sound ignorant. Offer your condolences and move on instead of babbling about what you don’t believe in. It truly amazes me just how people like you are so selfish.

  • SickenedByThoseAroundMe

    I’m selfish and you think you can just wish something into being… not a well thought out position, Ashby.

  • Dave the Cop

    I couldn’t agree more…unfortunately the devil uses the “human element” of revenge as one of his many devices to split us apart…he delights in our agony! But when we approach a situation such as this with love and grace, it is Satan who trembles in fear and winces in pain…

  • ccc

    well said, just because bad things happen doesnt mean he isnt there it just means he has other plans for those people. she is in a safe world right now

  • Dave the Cop

    I think if you will re-read what I wrote, you will see that I said that God is not unable to prevent this or other bad things from happening. You are obviously broken and hurting yourself and I will be praying for your spiritual healing. This is not about us, this is about the Owens family and I will not continue (in this forum) to defend my God to you. I fell into that trap of taking the focus off of the healing for the Owens family, and for that commission of sin, I repent. May God Bless you and have a great day!

  • brad

    Amber alert should be on your phone, if not sign up..make it happen. I got an amber alert and I live 60 miles away and so did everyone else I know.

  • mdybch

    He is from southern Missouri, born and raised. Has nothing to do with Independence. I agree they aren’t the best people but please don’t loop them all together,

  • Joe

    you are soft and weak.. dont blame the devil.. this man should be cut up and served to the rest of the sickos that my tax money feeds

  • Serena

    Are you kidding me? Do not discount this horrible persons actions by saying the “devil” overcame him. He chose to do this. He made a decision and he needs to pay. This little girl is gone because this vile horrible monster took it of his own accord. He should be punished. Yes he should die for what he’s done. He should die slowly and miserably just like anyone who takes the life or innocence of a child. Don’t let him get away with it so easily by making excuses for him.

  • Terry Beavers

    To hell with mercy! He needs to PUBLICLY EXECUTED in the most inhumane way possible!!! Let all the other sicko’s see what’s in store for them if they commit a similar crime!

  • Sandy Johnson

    Please do not insult this girl’s family by calling their 10 yr old daughter’s kidnapper and murderer a “gentleman.” We already have enough redefining of the English language in today’s world. I cannot imagine a less appropriate term for this person, considering his actions this week.

  • CB

    Seriously? Pray for him? He (just) heinously murdered this little girl. This man is no gentleman and Im not feeling like praying for Him.

  • Melody

    How sad for you if you truly believe this! Without God we couldn’t make it through times like this and believe me he will get what is coming to him!

  • Liberals are Demons

    The little girls body was found in this Scums house, Is there a doubt that he is guilty? NO.

    So instead of the bleeding heart liberals wanting to drag the trial out for years, and continuing to house and feed this POS for decades.

    Lets let PBS put his execution on prime time, and hang his corpse from a tree.

    But but but , the lethal drug may be out of date………….

  • Suvi Mayfield

    God cannot just stop the world from doing bad! He wants us to choose our own paths. He is testing us to see if we will do good. He can’t stop us from making bad decisions. All you atheists out there use that as a defense for your nonbelieving. What do you think God is? He is man of flesh and bone, not of blood. If God swooped in and carried the girl away and killed the man, everyone would believe. But he wants us to figure it out on our own. You spit upon God, yet you cannot see the many ways and opportunities he has laid on your path. I know I sound like some die hard Christian, but I’m not. I am a sensible young lady who has done many things wrong, even to this very day. You can call me a hypocrite, but answer me this: Aren’t we all?

  • joze

    BRAVO!! well written …my thoughts exactally…they (atheists) always want proof…prove it…prove it…they say…but if you ask them how much they love thier family…i tell them…PROVE IT…you see…they cant..its in the heart and that it why its called FAITH..peace!!

  • ccc

    that was a terrible thing to say…. you have my vote ? i think god needs to help him and her family vamos a echar de menos haley

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