Thousands attend vigil for murdered Springfield girl

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SPRINGFIELD, MO (KTVI) –Several thousand Springfield, MO residents stood up in unity Saturday night with the family of a child who was kidnapped and killed Tuesday.  Holding flickering candles and glow sticks, the crowd lined Commercial Street as the parents of murder victim Hailey Owens led the march.

“It’s unspeakable, it really is,” said a man who came to show the child’s family support and to prove there still is good left in this world.

As the marchers strode by, the crowd chanted, “Hailey, Hailey, Hailey.”  Relatives carried a banner sized photo of the ten year old.

Tuesday afternoon witnesses saw a man in a pickup truck snatch the youngster from a residential street.  She was less than two blocks from her home.  A neighbor tried to follow the kidnapper, but he eluded him.

Police tracked down the man within three hours, but it was too late.  The child’s body was found in the home of suspect Craig Michael Wood, a teacher’s aide and football coach at a public school.

“Random homicides are rare for Springfield,” said Springfield’s Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Seifried.   He described the town as a “faith based community” where it is unusual to record more than a dozen murders a year.

The crime left residents speechless.  “I’m sick and tired of people hurting children.  We don’t like it when it happens right in our backyard,” said one woman as she waited for the vigil to begin.

“We’re Springfield.  You can’t mess with us. You can’t mess with our babies,” pronounced a mother of three.

The vigil, itself was brief.  A singer sang “Amazing Grace.”  Seifried called for a moment of silence in memory of Hailey Owens and then concluded the event with a reading from the Bible.

Several residents said the turnout indicated a growing sense of unity in Springfield.

Donations can be made to Hailey’s family at any Empire Bank in the Springfield area; donations should be made to the Hailey Owens Memorial Fund:

Empire Bank
c/o Hailey Owens Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 3397
Springfield, MO. 65808
417-881-3100

Previous Coverage:  Hailey Owens’ mother: She is in heaven with angel’s wings

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1 Comment

  • Walt Endawerl

    There were 133 crime reports the day that Hailey was violently abducted and killed.

    Here are listed 10 reports of 5 listed before and after hers.
    What importance and actions were placed on her Violent Abduction. Where and how many officers were available and those that weren’t we should know what they were doing.
    Was there a closer unit? Were there units monitoring traffic closer or were there several units that were not necessary at a non injury, past or injury accident?
    Why did it take 12 minutes for an officer to arrive? Why did it take another 15 minutes for the officer to gather facts (27 minutes gone gone gone).

    21 1402180006384 02/18/14 Drugs 621 W Sunshine St
    22 1402180006379 02/18/14 Stealing From A Vehicle – Past 2825 N Kansas Expressway
    23 1402180006390 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Non-Injury S Campbell Ave & W Walnut Lawn St
    24 1402180006378 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Past 4136 E Kearney St
    25 1402180006388 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Injury E Cherry St & S Mission Ave
    26 1402180006392 02/18/14 Abduction – Non-Parent 3247 W Lombard St Hailey’s
    27 1402180006385 02/18/14 Assault 2107 E Cherry St
    28 1402180006383 02/18/14 Stealing 1923 E Kearney St
    29 1402180006375 02/18/14 Stealing – Past 1744 W Catalpa St
    30 1402180006381 02/18/14 Check Well-Being 4660 S Roubidoux Pl
    31 1402180006380 02/18/14 Drugs S Douglas Ave & W State St

    Now here are the reports in sequence. 10 before and 10 after Hailey’s report.
    It needs to be disclosed the exact times and locations that “all” officers were busy with other matters. How important were these matters? How close to the proximity of the abduction?
    Were they and other officers that were not engaged in an incident closer to the scene? . How many officers/units were at each incident etc?
    This is necessary because out of 133 crime reports on February 18, 2013 only ONE was a violent child abduction/murder. Why did it take 12 minutes to get there? Were there officers along the way that the suspect took that could have intercepted him but were working something as mundane “past” stealing from a vehicle incident on Chesnut Expressway or non-injury accident at West Grand and West Bypass #16 ******(this was very near where Hailey was abducted)? We need times and information from the Springfield Police department.

    We can see reports of shoplifting, found property, trespassing, disturbance, assist a person thatoccur after Hailey’s abduction. With a kidnapping were these priority responses – and it makes it clear that an alert should have been put out because officers are answering calls after the kidnapping that don’t seem pertinent such as found property calls. Explain please.
    Before Hailey’s report we see past and non injury accidents, check well being, found property etc and these officers were engaged in these incidents. All the more necessary to issue an immediate alert.

    Come on Springfield Police we are seeing that it doesn’t add up to the level of competence needed to save a little girl’s life.

    11 1402180006405 02/18/14 Driving Intoxicated 1772 S Glenstone Ave
    15 1402180006404 02/18/14 Assist Person 1233 S Saratoga Ave
    09 1402180006403 02/18/14 Stealing – Past 2850 S Campbell Ave
    12 1402180006402 02/18/14 Disturbance – General 1020 E Calhoun St
    10 1402180006401 02/18/14 Stealing – Past 1031 W Kearney St
    13 1402180006399 02/18/14 Shoplifting 2825 S Glenstone Ave
    14 1402180006398 02/18/14 Trespassing 501 W Chestnut Expressway
    38 1402180006397 02/18/14 Found Property 1647 E Walnut St
    16 1402180006395 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Non-Injury W Grand St & S West Bypass ******
    19 1402180006393 02/18/14 Shoplifting 3315 S Campbell Ave
    26 1402180006392 02/18/14 Abduction – Non-Parent 3247 W Lombard St Hailey’s
    17 1402180006391 02/18/14 Stealing From A Vehicle – Past 2620 E Chestnut Expressway
    23 1402180006390 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Non-Injury S Campbell Ave & W Walnut Lawn St
    18 1402180006389 02/18/14 Found Property 2620 W Battlefield Rd
    25 1402180006388 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Injury E Cherry St & S Mission Ave
    20 1402180006387 02/18/14 Vehicle Accident – Past S Fremont Ave & E Battlefield Rd
    27 1402180006385 02/18/14 Assault 2107 E Cherry St
    21 1402180006384 02/18/14 Drugs 621 W Sunshine St
    28 1402180006383 02/18/14 Stealing 1923 E Kearney St
    30 1402180006381 02/18/14 Check Well-Being 4660 S Roubidoux Pl
    31 1402180006380 02/18/14 Drugs S Douglas Ave & W State St

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