By JEFFREY CRAMER
Springfield, Mo., police today identified a body believe to be that of 10-year-old Hailey Owens in the home of a school coach who allegedly abducted her yesterday.
"While she has not been positively identified, we have a high degree of confidence that it is Hailey Owens," said a spokesperson for the Springfield Police Department.
Owens was reported missing yesterday after reportedly walking to a friend's house at 5 p.m. about a block from her house. After an amber alert was issued, police arrested 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood, of Springfield, in connection to Hailey's abduction.
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said in a press conference that Wood refused to talk to authorities and asked for an attorney. He was taken to the Greene County Jail in Springfield.
Wood is on temporary suspension from his job at in the Springfield Public School system while the investigation is ongoing.
An autopsy on the body is expected soon. Police did not provide details on how the girl died.
Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Norm Ridder said in a statement that Wood was an employee and a coach. “Last night we learned the terrible news that one of our students had been abducted near her home,” Ridder said. “This morning, our sadness is compounded by the recent developments in the case of Hailey Owens’ abduction.”
Wood, the district said, has worked for the district since August 1998 as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School, according to the release, as reported by The Kansas City Star.
Police tracked down Hailey’s alleged abductor and killer because of “very good witnesses” to the abduction. “They provided information regarding a vehicle and license plate number,” Williams told the newspaper. Police tracked that to the owner of the vehicle, which led to the suspect.