- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The parents of Hailey Owens, a 10-year old girl kidnapped and killed in Springfield in 2014, are joining with the parents of the man suspected of killing her to seek updates to the Amber Alert system.

Hailey’s parents, Bill and Stacey Barfield, and the suspect’s parents, Jim and Regina Wood, met with lawmakers Wednesday at the Missouri Capitol.

The families united for the first time in August after Jim Wood contacted the Barfields, “recognizing that we both are suffering an immense crisis,” he said.

On the day of the killing, Springfield police responded within minutes to an emergency call about a child’s abduction. A statewide Amber Alert wasn’t issued for another two hours. The girl’s body was found in Craig Wood’s basement hours later.

Jim Wood was within walking distance of his son’s home, where authorities believe the girl was killed. Witnesses had also identified a truck registered in Jim Woods’ name as the vehicle used in the abduction.

Jim Wood said he “could’ve intervened” had an Amber Alert been issued sooner.

Craig Wood is awaiting trial in Hailey’s killing.

Under the current system, Amber Alerts are issued after police fill out a form and fax it to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The bill, known as “Hailey’s Law,” would update law enforcement computers with the technology to report an Amber Alert directly to the Missouri Highway Patrol by integrating abduction reports into state and regional law enforcement computer systems. The bill also would require the state Amber Alert Oversight Committee to meet annually to discuss updates to the system.

Rep. Curtis Trent from Springfield said he will sponsor the legislation. No bill had been filed as of Wednesday evening.

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