Teen Couple from Kentucky on Runaway Crime Spree Through the South
"We are still not sure the exact reason they decided to leave town," Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins tells PEOPLE
Star-crossed teen lovers are giving police a chase from Kentucky through Georgia and South Carolina.
On Jan. 3, Cheyenne Phillips, 13, was reported missing by her father, Kentucky’s Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins tells PEOPLE.
“At that time, we were just searching for her as a missing person,” Chaffins says. “We had no clue that her boyfriend was involved.”
It was more than a week later, on Saturday, that police heard Phillips and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Dalton Hayes, had crashed through farm gates in a stolen Ford pickup.
“We searched for them in the woods and found a piece of Dalton’s clothing,” says Chaffins. “They had over an hour head start on us, and we called off the search when it got dark.”
Not long afterward, a homeowner found them in his garage.
They asked him for a cup of water, but as soon as he turned around to get it, they ran away, he says.
The police arrived 10 minutes later, but it was too late.
“Later that night they stole their second vehicle. This time it was a red 2006 Toyota Tacoma,” Chaffins says.
On Monday, the pair were spotted at a Walmart in Manning, South Carolina.
Their parents are reaching out through news reports, trying to convince the pair to turn themselves in.
“We love you, we want you to come home,” Phillips’s father, Shawn Phillips, told her via Louisville station WLKY. “Please come home.”
Hayes’s mother is also concerned.
“Last I heard from him was Tuesday. He texted me that he loved me and that he would call me soon,” Hayes’s mom, Tammy Martin, told WHAS 11 in Lousiville.
Martin thought Phillips was 19 years old and says the couple had been dating for three months, the news outlet reports.
On Thursday, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office received word from Henry County, Georgia – about 400 miles from the couple’s hometown – that the 2006 Toyota Tacoma had been recovered.
But the teens didn’t stop there.
At the same time, another vehicle in the same area was reported stolen.
“We believe that they stole this car, too,” Chaffins says. “They haven’t been seen from since.”
No charges have been filed against Phillips because of her age, but Hayes isn’t as lucky.
“He is wanted for custodial interference along with other charges. He is definitely the one making the decisions, but she seems to be going along with it,” Chaffins says. “At the end of the day, we really just want them home safe and sound. It’s only getting more serious and more dangerous.”