Two teenage sweethearts suspected of a crime spree across the south-east of the US involving stolen vehicles and pilfered cheques have been caught in Florida.
Dalton Hayes, 18, and his 13-year-old girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, were arrested without incident in Panama City Beach. The two had eluded police in several states.
“I spoke to Dalton and he was very scared and he wanted to come home,” said Norman Chaffins, sheriff of Grayson County, Kentucky, where the teenagers live. “He wanted me to come bring him home.”
The teenagers should be extradited back to Kentucky by the end of the week, Mr Chaffins added.
Hayes was scheduled to make a court appearance via video link, according to the Bay County jail records in the Panama City area. He is being held on a charge of custodial interference.
Florida’s Department of Children & Families said Phillips had been taken to a safe location until arrangements with the family are made.
Authorities said the US Marshal’s Service and Panama City Beach Police discovered Hayes and Phillips asleep in a car stolen from Georgia.
In Kentucky, the two teenagers will face charges including burglary, theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief.
The couple began their run from the law and their families earlier this month when they vanished from their home town in western Kentucky. Authorities believe their travels took them to South Carolina and Georgia.
Hayes’s mother, Tammy Martin, said Phillips portrayed herself as being 19 and the family, including Hayes, believed her.