Teen in ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ crime spree: Abusive family was motive for running

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 13-year-old girl in this story is a minor and will face charges in juvenile court, therefore FoxNews.com no longer will identify her.

A Kentucky teenager accused of a string of crimes across the South says he and his girlfriend were trying to escape her abusive family and that he wishes he had bought bus tickets instead of stealing trucks as they moved toward Florida.

Officials say 18-year-old Dalton Hayes and his girlfriend, a 13-year-old girl, began their run this month when they vanished from Leitchfield, Kentucky.

Hayes told The News Herald of Panama City they planned to make it to Miami. He said if he could go back, he'd take the bus instead.

The father of the 13-year-old girl said Tuesday that claims that she was abused at home are "completely bogus."

"Anyone that knows us knows better. My family is pretty well respected in the community," he told The Associated Press.

Hayes, with his underage lover, drew comparisons to Bonnie and Clyde before their multi-state crime spree ended in their arrest early Sunday in Florida.

Officials recognized Phillips leaving a store Saturday. Authorities then found the pair sleeping in a stolen car.

Hayes agreed in court Monday to return to Kentucky to face charges.

An official there told The Associated Press the abuse allegations will be discussed when the pair is back in the state.

The two teens will face charges including burglary, theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief, Norman Chaffins, the sheriff of Grayson County, Ky., where the teens live, told The Associated Press. Hayes could also face charges relating to his relationship with the girl, who is not of the legal age to consent to sex in any of the states the pair was spotted in over the last two weeks. The girl will face charges in juvenile court because she is a minor.

Chaffins said he was relieved the crime spree ended peacefully. If the couple had not been found asleep and surrounded, he said, they may have run again. Authorities believe their travels took them to South Carolina and Georgia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report