CLARKSON, Ky. — The father of a 13-year-old girl whom police say went on a multi-state crime spree with her older boyfriend said Tuesday that he is not angry with the 18-year-old. The girl and her boyfriend, Dalton Hayes, 18, were arrested late Saturday in Panama City Beach after authorities found them sleeping in a stolen vehicle. "I don't have anything against him. I'm not upset with this boy. He's a boy," Shawn Phillips, 38, told The Associated Press. "And apparently he thinks something of my daughter. He's just not thinking clearly."
Shawn Phillips also denied as "completely bogus" Hayes' allegation that his daughter told him she had been abused at home. (NBC News is no longer naming the girl because of the abuse claim.) "Anyone that knows us knows better. My family is pretty well-respected in the community," Phillips said.
Hayes made the abuse allegations during jailhouse interviews with The News Herald of Panama City and NBC affiliate WJHG, telling the news outlets they just wanted to escape Phillips' family, who she claimed were beating her, and planned to make it to Miami. Hayes agreed in court Monday to return to Kentucky to face charges, including for burglary, theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief as part of allegedly stealing cars during the pair's run from police for two weeks this month. Phillips will face charges in juvenile court.
Shawn Phillips said he and his wife divorced before his daughter was born. He said he and his grandparents have raised her since she was 3 on their farm near Clarkson, where he said the girl had everything she could ever want.The abuse allegations are "something we'll talk about when they get back to Kentucky," Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins told The Associated Press. He said he was unaware of any previous accusations of abuse.
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