‘Exhausted’ Families of Fugitive Kentucky Teens Anxious for Their Return

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

Dalton Hayes, 18, and his 13-year-old girlfriend Cheyenne Phillips were reported missing on Jan. 3, when they allegedly stole a neighbor’s red Toyota pickup, before ditching it two states later in Georgia, where cops say they stole a silver Toyota Tundra that had .45- and .38-caliber handguns in the back seat.

The two were found sleeping in the Toyota Tundra and arrested without incident before Hayes was detained in the Bay County Jail and Phillips was placed in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families, according to the Panama City Beach Police Department.

Hayes and Phillips face burglary, trespassing and criminal mischief charges, but Phillips will be « treated differently » because she is a juvenile, said Grayson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Norman Chaffins during a news conference Sunday. Hayes also faces custodial interference, as well as charges in other Kentucky counties and up to three other states, Chaffins said. Hayes may also be met with additional « repercussions with the age difference … depending on what the relationship was and what it entailed, » Chaffins said.

Hayes’ mother, Tammy Martin, told NBC News that she « can’t wait for Dalton to come home. » She said spoke to the boy by phone and her son told her he is ready to return to Kentucky to « ‘face the consequences.' »

Martin added that she doesn’t know what prompted the teen to run away. Dalton’s aunt, Teresa Hayes, said the family intends to help get both teens « back on the right path with lots of love. »

Phillips’ father, who said he has had custody of the 13-year-old since 2005, is also eager for his daughter to return. He said he was « exhausted » by the situation, which « should have never been. » Phillips’ mother, Sherry Peters, said she does not often see her daughter, but she was « happy, glad, excited that Cheyenne is safe. »

Grayson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Norman Chaffins, said that Hayes and Phillips would not be returned to Kentucky until at least Tuesday, since Monday is a holiday.

A judge would need to approve extradition of the teens — if they fight it, according to Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen, who called Hayes « nothing more than a poor, misguided thug who came to Panama City Beach to rob steal and pilfer. »

« Unfortunately for him, they usually get caught when they come here, » McKeithen added. « Vacation over! »

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


— Debra Preitkis-Jones and Elisha Fieldstadt

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