Parents sue Springfield man charged in daughter's slaying

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 2:48 p.m. CDT; updated 5:56 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — The parents of a 10-year-old southwest Missouri girl who was kidnapped and killed last month have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man charged with killing her.

Hailey Owens was abducted Feb. 18 while walking near her Springfield home. Her body was found early the next day at the home of Craig Michael Wood.

Wood, who was a middle school football coach, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping in connection with Hailey's death, the Springfield News-Leader reported. He hasn't entered a plea, but his lawyer says he will plead not guilty. Wood remains in jail without bond and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 2.

Hailey's parents, Stacey Barfield and Markus Owens, are seeking money to cover ongoing costs incurred by her death, according to their lawsuit. They say they are also suing to punish Wood and deter him or anyone else from engaging in similar conduct.

Authorities have said they found evidence of a $1 million trust in Wood's name, but no documentation of the trust has been produced in court or in court filings.

Their attorney, David Ransin, said he is representing them for less than his typical fee and will donate his fee to a nonprofit group, Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Prosecutors allege that Wood abducted Hailey and took her to his basement, where he shot her in the back of the head. Her body was found inside two garbage bags inside a plastic storage tote in Wood's basement, police said.

Robert Palmer, a Springfield attorney who is not involved in the case, said filing a lawsuit during an ongoing criminal case is unusual, but not unprecedented. He said the parents' attorney might be trying to secure any financial assets for them before they are depleted by the criminal trial.

"I hope he's really successful," Palmer said, referring to the parents' attorney. "Cause that guy is an evil person."

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