SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — FOX 4 spoke to a Springfield man Wednesday who saw Hailey Owens, 10, moments before she was kidnapped and then followed her kidnapper before he lost him in traffic.
Ricky Riggins was just arriving home from work when he saw Hailey.
He remembers her smile.
“When I pulled in, she smiled at me,” Riggins said. “I remember that. She was smiling.”
Then, moments later, Riggins heard a neighbor yelling frantically as he tried to stop the man who kidnapped Hailey.
Riggins jumped into action. While the other witness called police, Riggins tried following the kidnapper’s car.
“He had peeled out and was going really fast that way. He was probably going about 60 on through here,” he said.
Riggins wasn’t able to keep up through the traffic and was saddened to hear the outcome, that Hailey was found dead inside suspect Craig Wood’s home.
“He grabbed her, put his hand over her mouth and just yanked her in there,” Riggins said. Then concluded: “He is a monster.”
Police believe Hailey was killed between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night.
Hailey’s smile, which Riggins now remembers so vividly, was not unusual for Hailey. Her school principal told FOX 4 that Hailey was a vivacious girl who made friends easily.