Teen in crime spree: Abusive family was motive for running

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mom of Ky. teen suspected in crime spree arrested.

The “Bonnie and Clyde” teens accused in a two-week, multistate crime spree of stolen cars and forged checks were just trying to get away from the girl’s abusive family, her boyfriend said. Two teenage runaways described as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde after eluding police in several southern American states during an alleged two-week crime spree have been captured.

Dalton Hayes, 18, and Cheyenne Philips, 13, fled their Kentucky homes earlier this month and lived on the lam until Sunday, when they were arrested in Florida. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were the infamous Depression-era outlaw sweethearts and gang leaders who were shot dead by police in 1934 after a two-year trail of robberies and murder. Sherry Peters is accused of taking her 13-year-old daughter, Cheyenne Phillips, from the house of Cheyenne’s great-grandparents Jan. 3 when she did not have the authority to do so, according to an arrest warrant provided by Chief Deputy Bo Thorpe of Grayson County Detention Center. He just wanted to help Phillips’ escape from her physically abusive family, he said. “All I had to do was tell her to go home and none of this would’ve happened, but it’s hard to tell someone getting beat on to go home,” Hayes said. “But, if I could go back, I’d be paying for bus rides instead of stealing trucks.” Phillips’ mom, Sherry Peters, was arrested in Kentucky Monday for custodial charges — not child abuse.

Hayes and Phillips are accused of nothing as serious, but police said they had been alarmed by their “increasingly brazen and dangerous” behaviour. Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins said his department served Peters the warrant Monday after Cheyenne’s father, Shawn Phillips, filed a complaint with the county court. A county court official said she’s scheduled for a hearing Thursday morning. “We’re going to do our best … to help her through the troubles that she has probably has gotten into out there and get her back to her 13-year-old normal-age life,” she said then. When they set off on their crime spree, Hayes was already running away from trouble as he was due to face a court hearing for burglary and theft charges following an arrest late last year. The pair were arrested a little after midnight Sunday in Panama City Beach, Fla., sleeping in front of an International House of Pancakes restaurant in the third pickup that police say they took.

They are expected to return to Leitchfield, city of almost 7,000 residents about 60 miles southwest of Louisville, Ky., later this week to face charges. Hayes, who was sent to an all-boys group home as a juvenile after getting into earlier trouble, waived his extradition rights Monday in a Bay County, Fla., courtroom. Hayes’s mother, Tammy Martin, said her son sent her a text a few days after their disappearance to say the couple were in Mississippi, which would add at least a fifth state to their travels. Cheyenne has been taken to what a Florida Department of Children & Families spokeswoman called a safe location until arrangements are made with her family.

She said that Cheyenne had portrayed herself as 19 and her son and his family believed her. “She would go in and write cheques, and she would come out with cigarettes and stuff, so I didn’t have any reason not to believe she wasn’t 19,” Mrs Martin said. Peters was not supposed to contact her children, said Glendon Hart, who along with his wife, Loraine Hart, has raised Cheyenne and her two older brothers since Peters lost custody of her children when Cheyenne was 3. But Glendon Hart said Cheyenne left their house on a Saturday night to go out with someone she called a friend, instead hopping into a car with her mother and not returning by her 10 p.m. curfew. Loraine Hart said she had told Cheyenne that she was too young to date and that the seventh-grader was allowed to hang out alone with a boy only under her great-grandparents’ roof.

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