Oklahoma Experts: Teach Kids About Safety, How To Fight Abductors

Wednesday, February 19th 2014, 6:07 pm
By: News On 6

An Amber Alert was issued for 10-year-old Missouri girl Hailey Owens after she was seen being dragged into a pickup truck late Tuesday.

Police in Springfield say witnesses saw Owens walk away from the truck at first before going back to the truck and being pulled inside.

Police arrested 45-year old Craig Wood three hours later while he was sitting in his truck outside of his home in Springfield.

Early Wednesday morning, investigators found a little girl's body inside his house.

2/19/2014 Related Story: Suspect In Missouri Amber Alert Booked On Murder Complaint

"It's tragic, it's horrific. In 30-plus years of law enforcement, I've dealt with a lot of things and, no, I cannot point to a case like this," Springfield Police Chief and former longtime Tulsa police officer Paul Williams said. "An abduction of a young child by a stranger and the tragic ending, no."

Williams said investigators have not found any connection between Owens and Wood.

According to the Department of Justice, stranger abductions are extremely rare. Of the 800,000 children reported missing every year, around 115 were taken by a complete stranger.

Sgt. John Adams with the Tulsa Police Department Child Exploitation Unit

"The boogeyman that we were taught when we were growing up, you know the Boogeyman, he doesn't exist," Adams said. "The Boogeyman is someone that you or your parents know most of the time."

Police said it's still important to talk to your kids about ways to stay safe.

"You can't tell from looking at someone if they're bad or good; kids needs to realize that," Tulsa Community College Police Capt. Cynthia Thygesen said.

Thygesen said kids need to know it's OK to fight back if a stranger approaches or touches them. Teach them to kick their shins or scream for help, she said.

"Run, kick, scream, bite, do anything you can to get out of that situation," she said. "If you're scared and it's a life threatening incident, you need to do whatever and let them know that's OK to act out that way."

Thygesen said it's important for kids and parents to role play how to get out of dangerous situations.

She said it's just like police officers who go through training.

It helps the kids learn how to react instead of panic and do nothing.