The parents of a 10-year-old kidnapped and killed last month have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man accused of murdering their daughter — calling the man's alleged actions "evil."
Stacey Barfield and Markus Owens, the biological parents of Hailey Owens, filed the suit in Greene County Friday seeking financial damages against Craig Michael Wood.
The petition says Wood was observed kidnapping Hailey on Feb. 18 and that the girl's body, with a gunshot wound to the back of the head, was found at Wood's home on Feb. 19.
The suit says Wood was either negligent in the handling of a loaded weapon or intentionally shot the girl, which is what prosecutors are arguing.
The petition says Hailey's parents have "suffered severely and in the future will suffer, by reason of the injuries sustained by and from Hailey Owens' death."
The suit seeks financial damages to cover costs associated with Hailey's death, but it also seeks punitive damages to "punish Defendant Wood and to deter him and others from like conduct."
In making the claim for punitive damages, the petition says "Wood's actions were grossly negligent, reckless, intentional, and/or outrageous, making no effort to mitigate the damages or avoid the harm to Hailey Owens or (the parents), and acting with evil motive and reckless indifference to the rights of Hailey Owens and her parents..."
The suit does not specify how much money the parents are seeking, only what the court "may deem just under the circumstances."
Wood is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and child kidnapping in connection with Hailey's death.
Authorities say that Wood abducted the girl during daylight hours, took her to the basement of his home and shot her in the back of the head.
Police say the body of Hailey was found in two garbage bags inside a plastic storage tote in Wood's basement, which smelled of bleach.
Wood was arrested at his Stanford Street home a few hours after Hailey was reportedly kidnapped.
The lawsuit was filed, on behalf of Hailey's parents, by attorney David Ransin.
Ransin last week sent a letter to the News-Leader that he is representing the parents "regarding all matters related to and arising from the abduction and loss of their daughter."
Ransin said he is representing the family at a lesser fee and donating the fee to a nonprofit fighting child abuse.
"I will use my 32 years of experience representing wrongful death victims and their families to achieve some sense of civil justice for my clients while guiding them through this process," Ransin said in the letter, adding:
"In recognition that even the largest monetary recovery in the world could never fully make up for the loss of their daughter and all of their suffering, I am representing this family at a significantly reduced fee, and I will donate 100 percent of that fee to Bikers Against Child Abuse."