Tests are needed to confirm body's identity, police say.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A middle-school football coach was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of a 10-year-old girl abducted the day before as she walked home from a friend's house.
Craig Michael Wood, 45, is accused of pulling Hailey Owens into his father's Ford Ranger pickup. Her body later was found in the basement of his home, shot at the base of her skull, wrapped in plastic bags and smelling of bleach, authorities said.
Wood also has been charged with armed criminal action and child kidnapping in the case in which witnesses saw an unshaven white man grab the girl late Tuesday afternoon after trying to get her attention with a question.
Wood has worked for the Springfield School District since 1998 as a substitute teacher, coach and teacher's aide. A current staff list on the Pleasant View Middle School website shows a Craig Wood working there this year.
Wood does not appear to know Hailey, police say. And so far, Wood has refused to speak.
"He's my son, and he's in a lot of trouble," Wood's father, Jim Wood, said Wednesday afternoon after his son's arrest late Tuesday but before Craig Wood was charged.
No other suspects appear to be involved in the crime, Williams said. Officers also were searching a laundry in connection with the case.
"I know an officer had to sit here all night 'til the FBI got here," said Tressa Brown, an attendant on duty at the laundry who initially was not allowed to report for work until officials finished their search. "He (the suspect) was washing away his evidence, I'm guessing."
Hailey had long sandy blonde hair, weighed about 90 pounds and was wearing jean shorts and purple flip-flops, police said.
A witness, Carlos Edwards, told a News-Leader photographer that he saw Hailey being abducted as he and his wife sat in the garage at their home. He said the girl had been visiting with a friend on the street and lived nearby.
The suspect drove up and down the street several times before pulling up to the girl to ask if she knew the location of "Springfield Street" to get her closer to the truck before grabbing her, Edwards said. The man then pulled Hailey through the open driver's side door, over the driver and placed her in the passenger seat.
Williams said he has not dealt with an abduction by a stranger in more than 30 years of police work. Similarly, Greene County's former prosecutor said he had not seen any case like this since he took office in the early 1980s.
Describing his shock while recounting what he saw, Edwards said he tried to run after the truck as his wife got the license number and called 911.
He spoke with concern about the girl and surprise that the man had grabbed the girl right in front of him.
"I can't believe he didn't see us sitting here in the garage," he said, explaining he heard the man talk to the girl.
Another witness, Ricky Riggins, 23, said he heard yelling and saw his neighbor trying to get the girl away from the suspect.
"He was yelling at her: 'Let her go. Let her go,' " Riggins said.
Then the suspect drove off. Riggins followed him in his car as the man drove at an estimated 60 mph through the neighborhood.
"I couldn't keep up," Riggins said. "He was probably five to six cars ahead of me. ... I think if we could have even been 10 seconds ahead. It's one of those things I thought would never happen near my house or in front of my house. It was so fast."
On Tuesday, before Hailey's body was found, the girl's mother said she was trying to stay strong — and positive.
"My nerves are shot," said Stacey Owens about two hours after her daughter, a fourth-grader, was abducted.
Owens said the family lives a couple of blocks from where Hailey was taken. She said she and her husband, Jeff, along with their young son, are trying to find strength through the ordeal.
Springfield Public Schools officials are cooperating with authorities in the case and assigned additional counselors to three schools — Pleasant View where Wood worked, an elementary school where Hailey attended and another school that she went to last year — according to a statement from the school district.
Wood has been suspended from his job pending the outcome of the case, school officials said.
"She's a very lively, bubbly, sweet little girl," Hailey's aunt, Erin Petersen, said Tuesday night. "She's spontaneous, very innocent."
"I'm in shock right now," Petersen said.
The Missouri General Assembly observed a moment of silence for Hailey on Wednesday.
"I don't know what the parents are going through," GOP state Rep. Elijah Haahr of Springfield said, choking up. "But it's killing me today."
Contributing: Dean Curtis and Christine Temple, Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader