10,000 attend vigil in Springfield for Hailey Owens - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

10,000 attend vigil for murdered 10-year-old girl; coach arrested

Hailey Owens (Source: KOLR) Hailey Owens (Source: KOLR)
Craig Michael Wood (Source: Greene County Jail) Craig Michael Wood (Source: Greene County Jail)
Investigators search the home of Craig Wood (Source: KOLR) Investigators search the home of Craig Wood (Source: KOLR)
Wood's truck matched the description in Amber Alert (Source: KOLR) Wood's truck matched the description in Amber Alert (Source: KOLR)
Investigators search the home of Craig Wood (Source: KOLR) Investigators search the home of Craig Wood (Source: KOLR)

A community rallied together to honor the life of a 10-year-old murdered in Springfield, Missouri.

Police report about 10,000 people attended a candlelight vigil and march for Hailey Owens, a little girl abducted while she was walking to a friend's house on Tuesday, February 18.

Both family members and strangers gathered to show the Owens family their support.

"I had to do this.  I went and bought 29 yards of fabric, I had to do this.  I had to do something.  I couldn't have sat home with my porch light on and feel helpless.  So yeah, this is my closure," says Angel Boeddeker.

As people of all ages stand to celebrate the life of little Hailey, they want to make sure she is never forgotten.

On Tuesday, February 18, an Amber Alert was issued for Hailey Owens after neighbors called 911 to say they'd witnessed a man pull her into a truck on West Lombard Street just before 5 p.m. 

Witnesses say that initially Hailey resisted her abductor's overtures but as he continued to ask for directions, she eventually got close enough to the truck for him to jump out and throw her inside.

Officers were able to quickly locate the suspect after receiving information about Wood's license plate from an eyewitness.

That eyewitness was Ricky Riggins. 

Riggins said he heard a neighbor yell out that Hailey had been taken and that's when he jumped into his car to stop the man who had snatched her—but he was too late.

Riggins made sure to look at Wood's license plate number.  His tip would lead officers straight to Wood's home at 1528 East Stanford. 

On Wednesday, February 23, 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood was booked on charges including first degree murder and child kidnapping after officers recovered Hailey's body in his basement.  The gold Ford pickup truck sitting in Wood's driveway matched the description of the vehicle in the Amber Alert.

Hailey's body was found in the basement wrapped in plastic trash bags and hidden in a plastic tote.  Investigators also found bleach bottles, a shop vac and a fan drying the floor.

Officers found more than a dozen guns along with ammunition magazines, stained bedding and pillows.

Evidence collected inside the home includes a laptop, video cameras, and a 3-ringed binder with pornographic images of children as well as audio/visual equipment & storage.

Wood is being held in the Greene County Jail.

Chief Williams said Wood is refusing to speak to investigators, and so they don't have a motive.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says Wood was a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School.  Hailey was not a student at that school.

Neighbors of Wood say he kept to himself and they've never spoken with him.

Wood's first court appearance was February 21.

During the arraignment Hailey's parents got their first glimpse at the man accused of killing their daughter.

Prosecutors learned of a $1 million trust fund in Wood's name and say he can afford his own attorney.

Wood will reappear in court on March 19 and again for a preliminary hearing on April 7.

A medical examiner has released an autopsy report to police but the details are not being released to the public at this time.

Copyright 2014 WOIO, KOLR and KCTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly