Motive unclear in abduction, slaying of Missouri girl

Published On: Feb 19 2014 05:26:03 AM HST   Updated On: Feb 19 2014 09:07:43 AM HST

Springfield police said a motive remained a mystery in the abduction and slaying of Hailey Owens.

Police confirmed that a body had been found in a home where Craig Michael Wood was taken into custody. Authorities said that they believe the body was that of the missing girl. An autopsy was scheduled.

Family members told KMBC's Brenda Washington early Wednesday morning that police had found her body.

Hailey was walking to a friend's house late Tuesday afternoon when she was abducted.

Police said witnesses were able to get the description of the pickup truck and a license plate number. Craig Micheal Wood

"They observed a vehicle in the neighborhood, circling the neighborhood, also observed our victim. At some point, (they) observed the vehicle pull up and have a conversation -- the driver had a conversation with the girl. If I remember the reports correctly, she ignored and then came back and spoke with the driver, at which time he suddenly jumped out and grabbed her and pulled her into the vehicle," Williams said.

Williams said a couple of witnesses ran after the vehicle. Another witness got into a car and tried to follow the pickup while calling 911, but lost sight of the truck.

Police officers were able to track the vehicle to a Springfield home, where officers had the home under surveillance. Wood was taken into custody when he returned to the house about 8:30 p.m.

Police Chief Paul Williams said Wood went to police headquarters, but refused to talk to investigators and asked for an attorney. He was booked into the Greene County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. Formal charges have not been filed in the case.

Williams said they know of no connection between the girl and Wood.

Detectives said they were processing multiple crime scenes.

Wood is employed by Springfield Public Schools. He works as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School. School district officials said Wood's employment was suspended because of the investigation.


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