Joplin holds candlelight vigil in memory of Hailey Owens - KOAM TV 7

Joplin holds candlelight vigil in memory of Hailey Owens


Joplin area residents held their own vigil in Hailey's honor..calling attention not only to the tragedy but the need for vigilance for our children.

Joplin city hall lit up in purple and pink to honor 10 year old Hailey Owens, who was abducted by a stranger while walking home from a friend's house.

Even though nearly 70 miles away the pain of the tragedy is felt here.

"Since we've had the tornado, we're an out reaching town. And we want to let them know that we care about these types of things and basically show the love that Joplin has." Says organizer, Mike Wooden.

"I think it's great that the community will come together and do something for a neighboring city in Missouri." Joplin Resident, Linda Taylor says.

Joplin police say while abductions are rare, they can happen at any time, any place, and at any age...

"in schools we teach stranger danger to the kindergartners. If someone they don't  know comes up to them and tries to talk to them to police tell them to make as much noise as possible and run away from them." says Sgt. David Lewis of the Joplin Police Department.

Officials say there are no rules for kids walking alone; but says parents, must feel the child is ready.

"I would say it would depend on the maturity of the child. There is no set age." Lewis says.

Joplin police suggest parents talk to their kids about dangerous situations...and be prepared for the common tricks pulled by strangers.

"Honestly a lot people that do abduct child do start with simple questions, and that's how they get into the child's confidence." says Lewis.

While police work to prevent these crimes from happening, the vigil helps a community cope.

"I'm glad people are paying attention to what's going on, and showing support for things like this. You know when somebody passes, and its something we can all do." says organizer, Charlie Brown.

"It was a super super bad tragedy...our hearts are hurting right along with the family." says Joplin Resident, Larry Taylor.

Donations are currently being accepted to the Hailey Owens memorial fund in Springfield.

Donations can be mailed to:
Empire Bank
c/o Hailey Owens Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 3397, Springfield, MO 65808.

The bank's main phone number is (417) 881-3100.


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