Rape charges added in Missouri girl’s death

April 22, 2014 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A southwest Missouri youth football coach accused of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old girl is now facing rape and sodomy charges.

Greene County prosecutors added the new charges against Craig Michael Wood, 46, of Springfield on Monday. Court documents indicate the additional charges in the February death of Hailey Owens stem from newly available autopsy results.

The fourth-grader was abducted while walking home from her best friend’s house, just two blocks from her own home. Neighbors reported watching in horror and unsuccessfully giving chase as Hailey was pulled into a pickup truck that sped away. She was found dead hours later in the basement of Wood’s home.

Wood is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday, but public defender Patrick Berrigan said in a brief interview that he plans to ask for a delay because of the new charges.

“We’ll file a request to strike, or to postpone the hearing,” he said Tuesday.


Wood was a 16-year football coach at a middle school in Springfield, about 160 miles southeast of Kansas City. He also worked as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aide overseeing suspensions. A police search of his home found child pornography and more than a dozen guns, according to search warrants. Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson has said Hailey was shot in the back of the head and had ligature marks on her wrists, suggesting she was tied up. The prosecutor, who has said he is considering whether to seek the death penalty, declined to further discuss the new charges.

Wood had little criminal history, according to online court records. He pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in 1990 in Greene County and was fined $100. Wood also was convicted in 2001 for illegal taking of wildlife, a misdemeanor. Friends said Wood is an amateur bluegrass musician and hunter who never married or had children and whose parents raised show horses.

Wood is already facing charges of murder, child kidnapping and armed criminal action. Hailey’s biological parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wood last month.


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