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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A middle-school football coach charged with killing a 10-year-old Springfield girl is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday.
Forty-five-year-old Craig Michael Wood’s arraignment was initially scheduled for Thursday but postponed a day.
Wood, 45, was charged Wednesday night with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping in the shooting death of fourth-grader Hailey Owens.
According to police, Owens’ body was found inside the home of Wood,.
Authorities say Owens’ body was stuffed inside two garbage bags in a basement. According to court documents, the garbage bags were found inside the bottom of two totes stacked on top of each other.
“The crime scene technicians removed the trash bags and confirmed it was the body of Owens,” according to the charging document.
Authorities determined Owens appeared to have a single gunshot wound to the head and a spent .22-caliber casing was found in the basement. There were also apparent ligature marks on her arms.
According to the probable cause statement, a woman was in her garage around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday when she saw Wood’s Ford Ranger pull up to Owens and ask her where Springfield Street was. The witness said Hailey tried to walk away from the vehicle, but Wood opened the door of his truck and said “Hey, come here for a minute,” extending his hand to her, motioning for her to come over.
The witness says Wood lunged out of the vehicle and grabbed Owens with his left hand and threw her into the truck “like a rag doll.” He then drove away from the scene at a high rate of speed. According to court documents, it’s believed Owens was walking home from a friend’s house.
Several neighbors unsuccessfully attempted to rescue the child, chasing the suspect on foot and by car.
Wood has worked for the Springfield school district since 1998 as a coach, substitute teacher and teacher’s aide. Hailey attended a different school, and police and school officials say the two didn’t know each other.
Court documents show Wood has a drug arrest on his record, but no violent crime convictions.