Mo. middle school coach charged in shooting death of Hailey Owens, 10

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A middle school coach and teacher's aide was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday in the shooting death of a 10-year-old Missouri girl, authorities said.

Greene County prosecutors allege Craig Michael Wood, 45, of Springfield was responsible for the death of Hailey Owens, whose body investigators believe they found early Wednesday in a plastic storage bin in Woods basement, the Kansas City Star reported.


Woods, who was arrested Tuesday night, was jailed without bond after being charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping. The newspaper said he may make his first court appearance Thursday.

Wood is a seventh-grade football coach and a teacher's aide at Pleasant View K-8 School in Springfield. He started coaching at the school in 1998 and was hired full time in 2006, a school spokeswoman said.

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Hailey attended Westport Elementary this year after attending Bowerman Elementary last year, and it appeared she and Wood did not know each other, investigators said.

Her mother, Stacey Owens, said she was abducted shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday near her home. Witnesses told police they saw a man in a gold 2008 Ford Ranger drive down the street several times before the kidnapping.


A witness told the (Springfield) News-Leader he saw the then-unidentified man lure Hailey to his pickup truck then pull her inside the vehicle and drive away.

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Carlos Edwards told the News-Leader he and his wife were in the garage of their home Tuesday night about 8 p.m. when they saw Hailey taken. He said he chased after the truck, while his wife jotted down the license plate number before calling police.

A truck matching that description sat in Wood's driveway Wednesday, the door still swung open.

The school district said Wood has been suspended pending the outcome of the case.

Amber Alerts issued in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma were canceled.

Police also searched a local Laundromat where a clerk said she thought Wood had come to clean some of his clothes after the abduction.

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