Update: Police have confirmed that Hailey was found in Wood's basement and that the little girl had been shot in the back of the head, wrapped in plastic bags, and smelled of bleach.
The body of missing 10-year-old Hailey Owens may have been found in Missouri and an elementary school sports coach is being charged with first-degree murder after allegedly dragging the poor girl off the street in broad daylight and taking her to his home. Amber alerts were issued in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma on Tuesday after the fourth grader vanished while walking a few blocks home from her friend's house. At least one witness told police they saw a man in a gold Ford Ranger drive up and down the street before pulling Hailey into his truck. The details are so disturbing and sad that it's difficult to believe this actually happened to a sweet angel.
According to police, the suspect is a 45-year-old man named Craig Michael Wood, who is reportedly an athletics coach at Pleasant View K-8 school, where he's been employed for more than 25 years. His profile fits the one described by a witness and he was taken into custody just three hours after Hailey was reported missing. Police reportedly found Wood sitting in his car -- which also fit the description of a gold vehicle with Missouri plates and was located just five miles from where Hailey was abducted -- and arrested him on suspicion of first-degree murder after finding evidence of "foul play."
Police say a body was found in Woods' home and that they believe it belongs to the little girl.
As of right now, this is the only information available to the public. Wood's employer says he has been suspended. Police won't comment on the little girl, which seems only right given the sensitivity of this sad story.
It's incredibly scary to think someone in your own neighborhood -- a person who was a trusted figure at a well-regarded school, no less -- could be capable of hurting a child this way. As a parent, you think the worst of strangers and suspicious-looking characters -- not of people who live within miles of your home.
I hope Hailey's parents and family find peace during this terrible time and that police are able to crack this case and punish the person -- whether Woods or someone else -- responsible for this heinous crime.
What do you think so far about the details of this crime?
Image via jayneandd/Flickr