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Continued: Shock, grief persist as southwest Missouri mourns slain 10-year-old girl

  • Article by: ALAN SCHER ZAGIER , Associated Press
  • Last update: February 20, 2014 - 8:05 PM

Wells reiterated previous statements by officials that despite Wood's status as a school employee, he and Hailey apparently didn't know each other. Hailey's home and Westport Elementary are on the city's west side; Wood worked at Pleasant View School, which is 12 miles away north of Springfield, and lived on the city's east side.

Springfield School District officials have said their employment screening process found no warning signs when hiring Wood — first as a temporary employee in 1998 and then full time eight years later.

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 musician and avid hunter.

James Dishman, whose son attended high school with Wood in the nearby town of Marshfield, told the Springfield News-Leader that Wood was an animal lover and "gentle type of man."

Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox said there is no indication that Wood is a suspect in any other violent crime involving children.

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  • Lt. Robert Pitts holds the photo of Hailey Owens, 10, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2014 in Springfield, Mo. Woods was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of a 10-year-old girl. A body believed to be that of Hailey Owens was found Wednesday at the home owned by Wood, Police Chief Paul Williams said at a news conference. Official confirmation won't occur until after an autopsy, but Police Chief Paul Williams said "we have a high degree of confidence" in the preliminary identification. He did not disclose the child's cause of death. (AP Photo/The Springfield News-Leader, Dean Curtis) NO...

  • Police and FBI agents investigate the scene where Craig Michael Wood was arrested in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Woods was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of a 10-year-old girl. A body believed to be that of Hailey Owens was found Wednesday at the home owned by Wood, Police Chief Paul Williams said at a news conference. Official confirmation won't occur until after an autopsy, but Police Chief Paul Williams said "we have a high degree of confidence" in the preliminary identification. He did not disclose the child's cause of death. (AP Photo/The Springfield...

  • This photo provided by Greene County Sheriff's Office, Craig Michael W...

  • This undated photo provided by Kansas Bureau of Investigation shows 10...

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