Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Parents Sue Accused|Killer of Their Child

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) - The parents of a 10-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered last month have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her accused killer.

Hailey Owens was kidnapped as she was walking home on Feb. 18, a Tuesday. Her body was found the next day at Craig Michael Wood's residence. Hailey was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the lawsuit.

Wood, a football coach and substitute teacher, was arrested and is charged with murder. Authorities said Wood did not know Hailey before the kidnapping.

Hailey's parents, Stacey Barfield and Marcus Owens, sued Wood in Greene County Circuit Court. They seek punitive damages for wrongful death.

They also seek damages for the fright and anxiety Hailey suffered before her death, and for funeral expenses and loss of consortium.

"This has not only been a tragedy for our community and nation, but it has been tragic by many more folds for Hailey's parents and family," plaintiffs' attorney David W. Ransin told Courthouse News.

"This has had an unimaginable affect on them, which is why they sought my help, so they can have some kind of temporary calm and peace that their rights are being protected through this process."

Wood is represented by a public defender, despite evidence of a $1 million trust in his name. Prosecutors challenged Wood's use of a public defender in light of that. Circuit Judge Dan Imhof said he would consider the matter.

Ransin said he prefers to take an early approach in pursuing this type of case.

"Some people would wait until the criminal process is done," Ransin said. "I say it is better to get going early, because you have the power of the court for discovery."

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