Suspect In Missouri Amber Alert Booked On Murder Complaint

Tuesday, February 18th 2014, 10:23 pm
By: News On 6

Springfield, Missouri Police say they've arrested a man in connection with the abduction of a 10-year-old girl Tuesday afternoon. 

The department canceled the Amber Alert for Hailey Owens Wednesday morning.

KOLR, the CBS affiliate in Springfield, Missouri, reports a family friend told them police found Owens' body. 

In an 11 a.m. news conference, Springfield Police said they located the suspect, 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood, Tuesday night and arrested him. Booking records at the Greene County Jail indicate he was arrested on a first-degree murder complaint.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams, a former longtime Tulsa police officer, said that after a search warrant was obtained, the body of a young girl was found inside a Springfield home where Wood was arrested.

The body hasn't been positively identified, although investigators have a "high degree of confidence" it is Owens' body.

He did not discuss any further details about the body or a potential manner of death or circumstances surrounding it.

Wood and Owens had no prior relationship known to investigators, Williams said.

Williams said Owens was abducted just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Witnesses told police Owens was walking near her home when a man pulled up next to her in a truck and spoke to her. The girl at first seemed to ignore the man, then came back to talk to him. He quickly stepped outside of the truck, grabbed her and forced her inside, witnesses said.

One person ran after the truck, and another got into a vehicle and chased it, witnesses said.

Read a statement about Wood's employment status here

Springfield R-12 school superintendent Dr. Norm Ridder issued a statement about Wood, confirming he was a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School.

According to Williams, Wood had no prior violent criminal history, but he has drug offenses.

Wood has chosen not to speak to investigators, so Williams said police still don't have a motive.

When the Springfield Police Department initially issued the Amber Alert, it said it believed Owens may have been taken to Oklahoma. 

The Amber Alert was issued for Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma on behalf of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The Springfield Police Department canceled the Amber Alert just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.