But witnesses saw a man now identified as Craig Michael Wood grab her and toss the 10-year-old into his vehicle "like a rag doll," authorities say.
Wood, 45, is accused of abducting Hailey from a Springfield street in daylight hours Tuesday, taking her to the basement of his home and shooting her in the back of her head. He works for Springfield Public Schools.
Her wrists had been tied, according to the probable cause statement used to file charges.
Her body was stuffed in two garbage bags inside a plastic storage tote. And the basement of the house that Wood owned reeked of bleach, authorities say.
"My office is committed to seeking justice for Hailey," Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson said Wednesday as he outlined the charges and struggled to maintain his composure. He is the father of 8- and 11-year-old girls.
Wood is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping. He could face the death penalty.
Witnesses not only saw the 5 p.m. CT abduction, they noted the license number of the tan Ford Ranger that the suspect was driving, committed the driver's appearance to memory, tried running after the vehicle and chased it in another car.
They heard the suspect ask Hailey the location of "Springfield Street" to lure her closer to the pickup — close enough for the driver to lunge out, grab the girl with his left hand and throw her into the truck with ease, the probable cause statement said. Then he peeled out of the neighborhood at speeds approaching 60 mph.