Witnesses Raced to Save Mo. Girl From Kidnapper

Middle school coach charged with Hailey Owens' murder
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2014 1:14 AM CST
Craig Michael Wood has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, and child kidnapping.   (AP Photo/Greene County Sheriff's Office)
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(Newser) – Springfield, Mo., has been shaken by the murder of a young girl who was kidnapped in broad daylight while walking just a block from her home. A couple who were in their garage at the time say a man in a pickup truck pulled up next to 10-year-old Hailey Owens and asked for directions. She turned to walk away but he called her over and when she took a couple of steps closer, he "lunged out of the vehicle, grabbed the girl with his left hand and threw her into the truck like a rag doll," they say. The couple gave police the truck's license number, while other witnesses gave chase on foot and one tried to follow in a car but lost the truck, the Kansas City Star reports.

As the community rallied on social media in an effort to find the truck, the license number led police to the home of Craig Michael Wood, a coach at a local middle school. When they arrived, he was walking out of his truck with a roll of duct tape. They found the girl's body in a storage tote in a basement that smelled strongly of bleach, court documents state. She had been shot in the back of the head and there is evidence her wrists had been tied. The prosecutor—a father of two girls around the same age—fought back tears as he praised the "remarkable response" of citizens and police and said he didn't think anything could have been done differently, reports the News-Leader. Wood is being held without bail on charges including first-degree murder and could face the death penalty. (Read more Hailey Owens stories.)

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