Kidnapping of Hailey Owens

Background

 
Hailey Owens

Hailey Owens was born on August 18, 2003. Her parents Stacey Barfield and Ryan Owens lived in Springfield, Missouri. For kindergarten  Owens attended Bowerman Elementary and was a fourth grader in Westport Elementary at the time of her death.

Craig Wood

Court documents showed that Wood was popular in high school, though he said he always felt as if he was an outsider. Wood had attended Southwest Missouri State and went on for his master’s degree. He dropped out before finishing. Wood had only been in one relationship while in high school, he was never married. He has had the same friends since he was in third grade.

Wood worked in a local high school as a football coach and oversaw the in house dentition. There weren’t any complaints filed against him. Wood abused alcohol and struggled with depression for much of his life.

Craig Wood kidnapped, sexually assualted, and murdered Hailey Owens

Kidnapping, Sexual Assault, and Murder

On February 18, 2014 Craig Wood kidnapped Hailey Owens as she was walking home from a friend’s house. According to the probable cause statement, a couple, Carlos and Michelle Edwards, who happened to be talking in their garage witnessed her kidnapping. The couple told police that a tan Ford Ranger pulled up to Owens and said, “Hey, come here a minute.” Owens took “a step or two closer to the truck” when wood grabbed her and forced her into the van. Then took off “at a very high rate of speed.” Michelle remembered the license plate number and gave it to police. This lead to Jim and Regina Wood, who told police their son Craig Wood, was the primary driver of the vehicle.

The police looked into Wood, who matched the same description the Edwards gave to police earlier. Police arrived at Wood’s house and saw a tan Ford Ranger pull into the driveway. When they approached the vehicle Wood had exited the vehicle and police reported he threw a roll of duct tape into the bed of the truck. Wood agreed to go willingly to the police department for an interview.

While Wood was in custody, police did a ‘safety sweep’ of Wood’s residence. The probable cause statement revels. Upon entering the basement police could smell bleach and noticed that the floor was wet. They also reported seeing multiple bottles of bleach.

Police gained a search warrant and returned to Wood’s residence. When they searched the house, they discovered two hand written stories that depicted a man and a 13-year-old girl having sexual encounters. In the folder that contained the stories they also found photos of young girls that attended the school Wood worked in along with schedules for 2 female students. They found Wood’s bed stripped, to hide evidence. In the basement they found two plastic storage bins stacked on top of each other. Court documents disclosed the top one contained papers. The bottom one would have Owen’s body in it. Wood wrapped her in two garbage bags. Police would find a single.22 shell casing in the basement.

Other evidence included a video of Wood opening a dumpster lid and throwing Hailey’s clothing in. He was also seen on surveillance footage in Walmart. He went to the store twice, the first time buying Liquid Plummer and 2 bottles of bleach. The second time he purchased a laundry bag and duct tape. There was also a blood stain on Wood’s shirt that DNA revealed to be Owens’s.

The autopsy report declared that Owens had been shot, point blank range, in the back of the head. There were also bruises on her wrists showing that Wood had restrained her. The report also showed that Owens had been sexually assaulted.

Wood was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, child kidnapping, first-degree rape, and sodomy.

Outcome

At Wood’s trial, which only addressed the first-degree murder, the defense argued that “Wood did not deliberate” before killing Owens. Deliberate murder is when the individual is in a calm state and knew what they were doing. The prosecution argued Wood knew what he was doing since he disposed of the victims clothes in a dumpster, used bleach as a forensic counter measure, and used a small caliber gun (which would “make the least mess and the least noise.”

A computer forensic expert had also testified that the text messages were on Wood’s phone regarding the amber alert that had been sent out. One message said, “You haven’t been hunting, have you.” The other message read “Oh, great, I just got an Amber Alert about a gold Ford Ranger. What have you and bear [bear was Wood’s dog] done???”

The jury found Wood guilty of first-degree murder. The judge sentenced Woods to death.

Additional Information

Stacey Barfield’s husband, Jeffrey Barfield was arrested in 2016 for child pornography. Police had stated that Hailey Owens was not a victim of her step-father, and he did not have an involvement in her death. He was sentenced to 7 years with 10 years probation.

3 Comments

  • CHERYL

    Hailey was abducted 3 houses up from my daughter’s house. Our granddaughter had been in his detention just days before and said before the abduction that he creeped her out. Our family is convinced he was looking for our granddaughter that day and Hailey was unfortunately just a convienient victim.

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