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OK Therapist Offers Advice On How To Talk To Kids About Missouri Kidnapping

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The kidnapping of 10-year-old Hailey Owens ended tragically, her body was discovered in a Springfield Missouri home Wednesday. The kidnapping of 10-year-old Hailey Owens ended tragically, her body was discovered in a Springfield Missouri home Wednesday.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The seemingly random kidnapping of 10-year-old Hailey Owens ended tragically. Police say they have arrested the kidnapper, Craig Michael Wood, but found Owens too late.

Her body was discovered in a Springfield Missouri home Wednesday. It's the scenario that makes every parent's heart stop. But experts warn against over reacting.

2/18/2014 Related Story: Suspect In Missouri Amber Alert Booked On Murder Complaint

Police and child development experts say it's important to remember, a random kidnapping is extremely rare. Police say Hailey Owens was just walking down the street, a couple blocks from her house when Wood kidnapped her.

"She initially ignored him and then came back and spoke to the driver at which time he grabbed her," explained Springfield Missouri Police Chief Paul Williams.

It's the type of story that makes parents want to lock their children inside where they are safe. Sarah McFadden, a Therapist with Sunbeam Family Services says it's normal for parents to feel anxiety, but you shouldn't take away the things your child enjoys.

"Trying to strike a balance so children still feel like they have the freedom to go outside and be a child but is well prepared as possible if something tragic or unfortunate were to happen they would know what to say or do in those circumstances," she said.

McFadden says if your child comes to you, use this as an opportunity to talk about safety rules. Police say to tell your children to "run, yell, tell," if a stranger approaches them.

You should also answer any questions about what happened. Stick to the facts and be honest. How much you tell them will depend on their age and developmental level. But be careful not to scare them and evoke a higher level of anxiety in your child. Police say a random kidnapping is extremely rare.

"I think it's good to reassure children that this is an isolated incident, that something like this is a rare occurrence that they don't have a lot of anxiety that this is happening regularly," said McFadden.

McFadden says if your child doesn't ask you about this, it's probably in their best interest not to bring it up.

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