The man, who was identified as Craig Michael Wood was tracked down to his home by his license plate number on the truck that the witnesses saw during the event. Wood was sitting in his car and he was arrested and charged with Hailey’s disappearance, reports KY3 News.
Shockingly, Wood was a substitute teacher at Pleasant View Middle School, then became a teacher’s aide and a football coach. According to Springfield School District Superintendent Norm Ridder, Wood was hired in 1998.
After Wood was arrested the police obtained a search warrant and went to Wood’s home to search. Wednesday morning, the Springfield Police Department told media that they found the crime scene at a laundromat called the Dutch Maid Laundry on National Avenue. FBI agents were seen looking inside washers and dryers. Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told the media during a press conference they had found a body that was likely Hailey’s. It is not clear at this writing where Hailey’s body was eventually found.
Social media is posting their disbelief and criticism that it took authorities three hours to post an Amber Alert for Hailey.
“My mind reels heavily trying to understand WHY it took THREE HOURS for authorities to post the AMBER ALERT….why ?….it should have gone out with in minutes of the initial 911 call….not 3 hours later while officers investigate weather the call was accurate or not….an alert can ALWAYS be canceled if found inaccurate….but to delay 3 hours is unforgivable in my heart…those 1st few hours are the CRUCIAL hours that citizens could have been looking out for the truck….I am disappointed deeply with this current method of use of the AMBER ALERT system,” posted Kat Von Tanner.
Williams responded to these criticism by stating that it took time to gather all the information and prepare the Amber Alert, but another post brings up a very valid point.
“If the police had the suspects name, address from the license plate, why weren’t they at this man’s home immediately,” posted Wz Rubicon.
Hopefully, the Police Chief will answer that question and let the public know.
UPDATE: 2/18/14 – The Springfield Police have found the truck with a man inside at a south Springfield house. He was arrested and booked on kidnapping charges. Hailey Owens is still missing.
Previous story: An Amber Alert has been released for a missing 10-year-old from Missouri on Wednesday evening.
Hailey Owens from Springfield was last seen at 3247 West Lombard Street on Tuesday afternoon as she was heading home from her friends house a couple of blocks away from where she lives on W. Page St. Neighbors witnessed the event of Hailey’s abduction as they sat in their garage. They told KY3 News that a man that was seen driving up and down the street several times, pulled up to Hailey in his truck and asked her where Springfield St. was. As she got close to the truck he reached out and grabbed her and pulled her through the driver’s side open door. That vehicle, a tan 2008 Ford Ranger with Missouri plates 1YF454 or 1YS454 was last seen on Scenic from Grand in Springfield.
|Truck similar to the truck the man was driving|
One neighbor ran after the truck while the wife wrote down the license plate number and called 911, reports the News-Leader.
Although the abduction was witnessed and reported immediately it took over two hours for an Amber Alert to be released.
Hailey has long brown hair and brown eyes and pierced ears. She was wearing blue jean shorts and purple sandals. According to Esther Dunlap, a relative of Hailey’s, the man is described as white about 6’1″ tall with gray hair and wearing a ball cap.
Hailey could be in any of the neighboring states, so please keep your eye out for the truck. If you spot the vehicle please contact the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810. Also, if you see someone who you think is Hailey, please take a cell phone photo and call the police. Let’s do all we can to help get this little girl home.