Wood Charged with First Degree Murder

By KOLR10 News

Published 02/19 2014 05:52PM

Updated 03/24 2014 05:39PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson has charged Craig Michael Wood in the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Hailey Owns.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Patterson says Wood is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action.

According to witnesses, Wood grabbed the girl off a sidewalk on W. Lombard, dragged her into his truck and sped away.

The probable cause lists Carlos and Michelle Edwards as two eye-witnesses in the incident.

According to the statement, Michelle says a tan Ford Ranger pulled next to Hailey on Lombard and asked her where Springfield St. was.

Michelle goes on to say the girl turned to walk away from the vehicle, but the man in the truck asked the girl to “come here a minute.”

When Hailey took a few steps closer to the truck, the man lunged out of the vehicle and threw her into the truck “like a rag doll.”

When police interviewed Carlos and Michelle, their descriptions of the vehicle and the suspect matched.

Police later learned that Hailey was only a block from her home, coming home from a friend’s house, when the abduction occurred.

In her statement to police, Michelle was able to give investigators a license plate number, which led them to the vehicle’s owners in Ash Grove.

The owner of the vehicle, Jim Wood, informed police that his son, Craig Wood, was the person who drove the vehicle.

When police delved deeper into information on Craig Wood, they learned he matched the description given to police by witnesses and found his address at 1538 E. Stanford.

Shortly after police arrived to the residence, a tan Ford Ranger with plates matching Michelle’s statement pulled into the driveway.

Police approached Wood as he exited his truck, and police observed he had a roll of duct tape in his hand, according to the statement.

When Wood saw the officers, he threw the tape into the bed of the truck.

Wood agreed to go to police headquarters for an interview, where he initially told a detective that he got off work at Pleasant View Middle School around 3:15 p.m. and went straight home.

He later changed his story and said he went driving around for awhile, but denied having contact with Owens.

According to the statement, officers did a safety sweep at Wood’s residence to check for Owens.

When they got to the basement steps, officers say they could smell a strong odor of bleach. Upon entering the basement, they observed the basement was wet and saw bottles of bleach in the basement.

At 1:28 a.m. on Thrusday morning, a search warrant was obtained to search Wood’s residence and several crime technicians responded to the scene.

In the basement, technicians discovered two stacked plastic storage totes.

In the bottom tote, they found what appeared to be the body of a small child concealed inside two trash bags.

When the technicians removed the bags, they confirmed it was the body of Owens.

According to Tom Van De Berg, chief investigator for the Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office, Owens had a gunshot wound to the base of her skull.

Van De Berg also says there were apparent ligature marks on Owens’ arms.

Upon further processing of the crime scene, technicians located a spent .22 caliber shell casing in the basement.

Wood is being held at the Greene County Jail with no bond.

If convicted, Patterson says Wood is eligible for the death penalty. However, he doesn’t know yet if he will seek the death penalty until he further reviews the case.

The charge of murder in the first degree holds a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or probation.

Armed criminal action is punishable by a minimum of three years to life imprisonment and child kidnapping is punishable by a minimum of ten years imprisonment to life.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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