Families of victim, accused killer team up to change Amber Alert rules

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) -- Questions arose about Missouri’s Amber Alert system after a Springfield teenager went missing for several days. The girl was found safe, and police say the case didn't fit the criteria for it.

To Hailey's family, this playground is a reminder that something needs to be done to protect kids from predators. In Hailey's case it was a killer, but it's at this same place where the accused killer's family met with Hailey's family in an effort to change the law.

There were hugs, apologies. Hailey Owens family came face to face with craig wood's family, her accused killer.

"Our family and craig's family are both victims, there's only one person responsible for her death and that's Craig, therefore yes it's an unlikely scenerio, and no no one could've predicted this three years ago, but by change and circumstance, things fell together to where we realized where our goals lined up," said Jeff Barfield, Hailey's stepfather.

The goal, to pass Hailey's law, a new law that would speed up the amber alert system. Something Craig Wood's father says could have saved hailey on the day police say his son kidnapped and killed her.

"If that amber alert had been released in a more timely manner, I was in the same neighborhood as Craig's house, I was moments away, I own that truck and I would've recognized the truck and license plate number," said To Hailey's family, this playground is a reminder that something needs to be done to protect kids from predators," said Jim Wood, Craig's father. "In Hailey's case it was a killer, but it's at this same place where the accused killer's family met with Hailey's family in an effort to change the law."

That's why he says he's going with this time to talk to state lawmakers about hailey's law. Hailey's father says they've been trying to get it passed for three frustrating years, but the bill never made it to the governor's desk.

"None of this had to take this long, and being revictimized by the system is just as bad as the tragedy," said Wood.

But the two families say they hope coming together will send a message lawmakers, and keep what happened to hailey for happening again.

"If we can save one more child or save one more family from the grief that we have suffered, the four of us are gonna do whatever we can to do that," said Barfield.

The two families say they're planning to continue their efforts until hailey's law is passed.