He has been suspended from employment, but neighbors nearby the school are still in shock.
When Dawn House heard of the news of Hailey Owens' abduction Tuesday evening, she says it impacted her immediately.
“My heart was sunken,” says House. “My heart sunk. I started praying immediately, continued to pray hard through the night.”
House is a mother of five and lives less than a mile away from the school where Craig Michael Wood worked. Wood even coached two of her sons.
“They were in seventh grade football,” says House. “They just had Coach Wood. Good coach, tough coach. I know that they had a good experience, so this comes as a shock.”
According to a statement from Springfield Public Schools, Wood has been employed by the district since 1998.
He worked as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View Elementary and Middle School.
District policy for new employee hires include a background check mandated by state law, alongside an additional check of the family care safety registry-- this pulls information from local, state, and national agencies which report information if a potential employee is unsuitable to work with children.
Court documents reveal that Wood has a criminal past. He pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in 1998.
Still, parents did not see this coming.
“There wasn't any inkling, no premonition, no nothing,” says House. “What would put in that position. What would make him snap? I don't know what to say.”
Many parents with children at the school have the biggest lesson yet to teach their children.
“Need to remind our kids that just because they've been nice and sweet up until this time, doesn't mean that they're going to continue that way,” says House. “We always have to be careful.”
KOLR10 reached out Wood's father, Jim Wood.
He says that this is a very difficult time for his family and will be issuing a statement later this evening.
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