In a move of solidarity, two Missouri families dealing with tragedy are asking the legislature to require that law enforcement further streamlines the process to issue Amber Alerts. Craig Wood is awaiting trial in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Hailey Owens of Springfield. Wood’s father, Jim, testified to a state House committee this week that the legislation could save lives.

Hailey Owens

“I have Stacey Barfield, who is the mother of Hailey, with me today and my wife, Genie. We are all joined together in some attempt to reach out and protect these children,” said Wood. “I reached out to the Barfields with a deep sense of grief for my own family and a great deep sense of compassion for Hailey Owens and her family.”

Wood said he’s been told it took more than two hours after her abduction for an Amber Alert to be issued, even though he never received a notification.

“If an Amber Alert had been released in a timely manner, I could’ve walked to his (Craig’s) house and possibly intervened. That’s the compelling story,” said Wood. “That’s the driving force. I feel frustrated. Everybody wants to protect their children and other children too and I feel I failed in that regard.

Wood told Missourinet his son, Craig, also supports his efforts.

Emily van Schenkhof with statewide child advocacy group Missouri Kids First said everything that can be done to protect children is imperative.

“This case will never leave me. I’m sure it will never leave most of you. This is probably one of the worst cases that we’ve seen in recent history in Missouri,” says van Schenkhof. “Words are just not even adequate to describe how I feel about this case. That beautiful, precious child.”

Springfield Republican Rep. Curtis Trent’s measure, called Hailey’s Law, would also require that an Amber Alert System Oversight Committee meets at least annually to discuss improvements.