Feedback
News

Exhausted’ Families of Fugitive Kentucky Teens Anxious for Their Return

The families of two teenagers caught in Florida on Sunday, after nearly two weeks on the run, said they were anxious for the pair to return home to Kentucky.

Dalton Hayes, 18, and his girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, 13, were found sleeping in a Toyota Tundra and arrested without incident in Panama City Beach, Florida. Authorities put Hayes in jail and placed Phillips in the care of state child services, local police said.

The pair went missing on Jan. 3, when they allegedly stole a neighbor's red Toyota pickup. They later ditched that vehicle in Georgia, where police say they stole the silver Tundra that had .45- and .38-caliber handguns in the backseat.

Hayes and Phillips face burglary, trespassing and criminal mischief charges, but Phillips will be treated differently because she is a minor, said Sheriff Norman Chaffins of Grayson County, Kentucky.

Hayes also faces custodial interference, as well as charges in other Kentucky counties and up to three other states, Chaffins said. He could be subject to additional "repercussions with the age difference … depending on what the relationship was and what it entailed," Chaffins said.

The pair likely won’t be sent to Kentucky until at least Tuesday, Chaffins added.

Hayes' mother, Tammy Martin, told NBC News she spoke with her son by phone and he told her he was ready to "face the consequences."

“Not knowing where they were has been extremely difficult for all of us,” she said, adding that when she heard authorities had caught them, “I was happy that they were found and no harm was done.”

Martin said her son and Phillips met three months ago and seemed to like each other a lot, with the girl at her house “every day.” She doesn’t know why they took off: “It’s kind of hard to take it all in and figure it out.”

Phillips' father, who said he has had custody of his daughter since 2005, noted he was "exhausted" by the situation, while her mother, Sherry Peters, said she was "excited” that Cheyenne was “safe."

IN-DEPTH

— Debra Preitkis-Jones, Miranda Leitsinger and Elisha Fieldstadt