User Login    
 + Register
News : Missouri Coach Charged In Girl's Death Heads To Court
Posted by Randy on 2014/2/21 4:17:23 (517 reads) News by the same author

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- A middle-school football coach accused of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old girl is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday, as her southwest Missouri community struggles with a mix of anger and memories of a vivacious, trusting little girl.
Click to see original Image in a new window

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.

Her body, with a gunshot wound to the head, was found in Wood's basement. Wood is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action.

Community members were trying Thursday to make sense of the brutal crime, their memories of the bubbly fourth grader now mixed with shock and anger. Family and friends were remembering Hailey for her cheery disposition, 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.

Public anger is palpable in Springfield, about 160 miles southeast of Kansas City, as questions swirled about the suspect's background and motive. Wood was a 16-year football coach at a middle school who 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 girl's body was found stuffed in two trash bags inside plastic storage containers in the basement of Wood's home, which was damp with bleach - presumably used to clean the crime scene.

"I'm furious," said Jerry Tiffany, a retired construction worker who stood outside the Greene County courthouse on Thursday holding a handmade sign that read, "Child killer. Hang `em."

"I've been up all night, with tears in my eyes," he said. "Kids can't even go out and play anymore."

At least three people told police they saw Hailey as she was pulled inside a pickup truck that had driven back and forth several times down the street before the driver stopped to ask the girl for directions. One homeowner gave chase on foot, and another followed the fleeing truck in his own car.

Law enforcement officials and family members said that despite Wood's status as a school employee, he and Hailey apparently didn't know each other. Hailey's home and Westport Elementary are on the city's west side, while Wood worked at Pleasant View School, which is 12 miles away north of Springfield, and lived on the city's east side.

Springfield School District officials have said their employment screening process found no warning signs when hiring Wood, first as a temporary employee in 1998 and then full time eight years later.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/1/29 13:21:41 - Mercer Boys, Grundy R-5 Girls Rebound With Tournament Wins
2015/1/29 13:09:44 - Trenton Girls Experience "Deja Vu" In Loss To Polo
2015/1/29 10:21:27 - Grundy County Circuit Court News
2015/1/29 10:20:00 - Trenton High School Students To Participate In Polar Bear Plunge
2015/1/29 10:15:19 - Royals Name Merrifield, Binford As Minor League Players Of The Year
2015/1/29 10:05:32 - Chillicothe Police Seek Help From Public Concerning Burglary
2015/1/29 10:02:30 - Private Pesticide Applicator License Training Offered By University Extension
2015/1/29 9:55:15 - Chillicothe Man To Serve Prison Time For Probation Violation
2015/1/29 9:50:00 - Princeton Tiger Coaches Shows For Thursday, 1/29/15
2015/1/29 9:31:44 - Maryville Man Charged With Felony After Alleged Racial Slur
2015/1/29 9:30:00 - Milan Wildcat Coaches Shows For Thursday, 1/29/15
2015/1/29 8:48:47 - Second Child Dies After Parents Use Prayer, No Medicine
2015/1/29 8:30:00 - Police: Woman Filmed Porn At College Library
2015/1/29 8:20:00 - Teen Forced To Wear Winter Coat, Or Leave School Dance
2015/1/29 4:34:12 - Woman Slashes Her Children's Throats To Quiet Them, Police Say
2015/1/29 4:17:27 - Groups Discuss Privacy Issues Related To Body Cameras
2015/1/29 4:13:52 - Springfield Officer Shot In Line Of Duty Has "Career Ending Injury"
2015/1/29 4:07:42 - Tape: Scientist Offers To Build Nuclear Bomb Targeting New York
2015/1/29 4:03:05 - Missouri Lawmakers, Elected Officials Likely To Get Pay Raise
2015/1/29 4:00:32 - Mother Unknowingly Shuttles Weed In Van For 13 Years
2015/1/29 4:00:00 - Missouri Airport Police Officer Faces Child Porn Charge
2015/1/29 3:56:19 - Police: Man Arrested For Dragging Officer With Vehicle
2015/1/28 13:00:00 - NASA’s Challenger Exploded 29 Years Ago Today
2015/1/28 11:40:00 - Trenton Bulldog Coaches Shows For Wednesday, 1/28/15
2015/1/28 11:11:43 - Northern Missouri Remains Well-Represented In High School Hoops Poll
2015/1/28 10:22:16 - Trenton JV Boys Fall To Chillicothe, 63-50
2015/1/28 10:07:08 - Balanced Hornets Mow Through Excelsior Springs In Cameron Quarterfinal
2015/1/28 9:54:54 - Princeton Tramples Union Star, Moves To Gilman City Semifinals
2015/1/28 9:44:52 - Electric Rates Remain Hot Topic At Latest Meeting
2015/1/28 9:41:15 - Gallatin Board Of Aldermen Meeting Report



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM