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Suspect Arrested in Springfield Child Abduction Case

Command Headquarters
Command Headquarters (Credit: Michele Skalicky)

Update: 9 am 2-19-14:

In a statement Wednesday morning, Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Norm Ridder offered his support to Hailey Owen’s family and the SPS community following the Westport Elementary School student’s abduction.

“Last night we learned the terrible news that one of our students had been abducted near her home. This morning our sadness is compounded by the recent developments in the case of Hailey Owens' abduction.”

Ridder said the suspect in this case, Craig Michael Wood, who has been arrested by police, has been employed by SPS since Aug. 18, 1998. He works as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School.

“His employment has been suspended until this matter is resolved.”

Ridder went on to say that students and staff at three of the district’s schools are coping with this situation.

“To support these school communities directly impacted by this tragedy, I have assigned additional counseling staff and school police officers to be on hand until further notice,” Ridder said.

The superintendent said they are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials as their investigation continues.

“Because this is an ongoing investigation, I will not be making any further comments about the situation at this time.”

Update:  8:27 am. 2-19-14:

Numerous media outlets are reporting that a body has been found, but Springfield Police Department spokesperson Lisa Cox says they can’t confirm that at this time.

The next media briefing is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Original post @ 7:18 am:

During a media briefing at 6:30 this morning, Police Chief Paul Williams named the suspect in custody as 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood. 

Witnesses told investigators they saw a man in a gold-colored 2008 Ford Ranger drive down the 3200 block of W. Lombard several times before pulling a child into his truck just before 5 pm Tuesday.  Ten-year-old Hailey Owens remains missing.

Williams says they located the suspect in the 1500 block of E. Stanford and took him in for questioning.  He’s since been arrested and booked into the Greene County jail.

Williams says around 30 officers and investigators began a search in that area at around 11 last night.

"That search resulted in evidence related to this case and evidence of foul play.  The investigation is ongoing at this time.  We've requested assistance throughout the investigation from our partners in law enforcement--the Highway Patrol, the Greene County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.  The FBI sent their evidence response team down last night, and they are assisting us with processing the crime scene on E. Stanford St.," he said.

Amber Alerts were issued by the Missouri Highway Patrol at around 7 last night in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.