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Body of Missouri girl found after Amber Alert

Posted on: 2:58 pm, February 19, 2014, by , updated on: 04:18pm, February 19, 2014

Hailey Owens

Hailey Owens

(CNN) — A southwestern Missouri man is under arrest on suspicion of murder after a body — believed to be that of a 10-year-old girl he’s accused of abducting Tuesday — was found in the home he’s been living in, police said Wednesday.

Police said they believe the body found in Craig Michael Wood’s Springfield home is that of Hailey Owens, who allegedly was abducted in that city Tuesday afternoon.

The body has yet to be positively identified, police said.

An Amber Alert was issued after at least one witness told police that a man pulled Hailey, of Springfield, into a gold Ford Ranger on Tuesday afternoon, CNN affiliate KMBC reported. She had been walking to a friend’s house, KMBC reported, citing her relatives.

Following an unspecified lead, police went to Wood’s home on Tuesday night and, after he drove up to the residence, took him in for questioning. Investigators found the body in a search of the home overnight, and Wood, 45, was arrested on a preliminary murder charge, police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Hailey knew Wood.

Since 1998, Wood has been employed by Springfield Public Schools, working as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View K-8 School, according to a statement from the schools. He has since been suspended.

Hailey was a student at Westport Elementary School. She attended Bowerman Elementary School last year.

“Last night we learned the terrible news that one of our students had been abducted near her home. This morning, our sadness is compounded by the recent developments in the case of Hailey Owens’ abduction,” said Superintendent Norm Ridder.

He added: “Students and staff at three of our schools are coping with this situation. To support these school communities directly impacted by this tragedy, I have assigned additional counseling staff and school police officers to be on hand until further notice.”