'Bonnie and Clyde' Teen: We Were Escaping Abuse

Dalton Hayes says Cheyenne Phillips was being beaten at home
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2015 3:29 PM CST
'Bonnie and Clyde' Teen: We Were Escaping Abuse
This booking photo provided by the Bay County Sheriff's Office shows 18-year-old Dalton Hayes.   (AP Photo)

The 18-year-old Kentucky teen accused of taking off on a multi-state crime spree with his 13-year-old girlfriend says they bolted from home because she was being physically abused. Dalton Hayes tells the Panama City News Herald that Cheyenne Phillips was being beaten, though he didn't offer more details. “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,” he says. The AP talks to the girl's father, Shawn Phillips, who calls the allegations "completely bogus." The sheriff in Kentucky's Grayson County says he was unaware of any such accusations but would investigate when the youths are finally transported back to their home state.

The pair allegedly stole multiple vehicles and eluded police before finally getting caught in Florida, earning the nickname of "Bonnie and Clyde" in media accounts. “It ain’t like we were killing cops and robbing stores,” Hayes tells the Florida newspaper. “We just went on a few high-speed chases.” His main regret: Not buying bus tickets instead. In another development back home in Kentucky, the girl's mother, Sherry Peters, was arrested yesterday on charges of custodial interference, reports WHAS11. It's not yet clear how, or if, the charges relate to the teens' spree, but she is accused of picking up her daughter from Shawn Phillips' home on Jan. 3 without permission. That's the day the teens were reported missing. (More runaway stories.)

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