Fugitive Kentucky Teens Dalton Hayes, Cheyenne Phillips Arrested in Florida

Image: Dalton Hayes, 18, and Cheyenne Phillips,13, in photos released by the Grayson County Sheriff's Office.
Dalton Hayes, 18, and Cheyenne Phillips,13, in photos released by the Grayson County Sheriff's Office.Grayson County Sheriff

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Two Kentucky teenagers suspected of a crime spree across the South were apprehended in Florida after nearly two weeks on the run, officials said Sunday.

Dalton Hayes, 18, and his 13-year-old girlfriend Cheyenne Phillips were reported missing Jan. 3. They are accused of stealing a neighbor's red Toyota pickup, then ditching it in Georgia for a stolen silver Toyota Tundra that had .45- and .38-caliber handguns in the back seat. Both are wanted in at least the two auto thefts, and Hayes is also wanted on charges of custodial interference for luring Cheyenne away from home.

The two were found asleep in a stolen Toyota Tundra in Panama City Beach, Florida, early Sunday morning, according to the Grayson County Sheriff's office. "The vehicle was surrounded by law enforcement and both Hayes and Phillips were taken into custody without further incident," police said in a statement, adding that an extradition process was underway to bring the duo to Kentucky to face multiple felony charges.

Hayes’ mother, Tammy Martin, said she “can’t wait for Dalton to get home so she can see him for herself,” and he had expressed to her that he’s ready to come home and “’face the consequences.’” Martin said she doesn’t know what prompted her son to run away.

The Panama City Beach Police Department said its officers had acted on information from the U.S. Marshals Service that Hayes was in the area in the stolen Toyota and found the stolen car in the parking lot of a Kirkland's. Hayes has been transported to the Bay County Jail to await extradition, while Phillips has been placed in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families, the department added in a statement.


— Cassandra Vinograd