Is there anything more romantic than two lovers taking on the world with only one another to depend on? Certainly not. Hollywood certainly loves the idea, as do so many Oliver Stone fans. More than 20 years later, the exploits of fictional serial killers Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) in Natural Born Killers are still amongst the most popular romances of cinema.
Life can imitate art with little more perfection than the case of Cheyenne Phillips, 13, running off with her boyfriend, Dalton Hayes, 18, and engaging in an interstate crime spree that began on January 4, when the young couple drove through a cattle farm in a stolen vehicle, destroying thousands of dollars worth of equipment and property.
Fleeing authorities, Cheyenne and Dalton then stole a red 2006 Toyota Tacoma, which was also reported to have contained a firearm, according to ABC News. Phillips and Hayes disappeared following the theft of that second stolen vehicle, remaining missing from January 5 to January 11 with no new sightings reported.
Within that time span, Cheyenne and Dalton made their way to South Carolina, where they were identified in Manning, a town of little more than 4,000 residents. It was learned that Phillips and Hayes had cashed a stolen check at Manning’s area Walmart. There was no suspicious behavior from the couple. According to reports and interviews with store employees, Cheyenne and Dalton wrote and cashed the check with one of the cashiers, before quietly departing the store.
Grayson County Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky reported that this was their last recordable transaction, but it seems the teens’ excursion is far from over with another sighting placing Phillips and Hayes in Henry County, Georgia. A resident local to the area called 911, after witnessing a red Tacoma parked on property known to have been abandoned. By the time police arrived at the scene, Cheyenne and Dalton had already fled the area, leaving the Tacoma and the firearm it contained, a hunting rifle, behind.
Another stolen vehicle report drew the attention of investigators, although it’s not yet known whether or not Phillips and Hayes are responsible. This latest theft involved a Silver 2001 Toyota Tundra with two loaded handguns stashed inside and it does seem likely that the teen runaways are responsible, because this vehicle was stolen within walking distance of the abandoned Tacoma.
“When they were in Manning on Monday, we didn’t know anything about them being runaways from Kentucky. So it was business as usual here in Manning on Monday,” Manning Police Chief Blair Shaffer said. “We had no knowledge of them in town. We didn’t have any calls about them, no suspicious activity. We didn’t have any thefts of any vehicles. We found out three days later, so we had no reason to believe they were still here in town.”
The current whereabouts of Cheyenne Phillips and Dalton Hayes is currently unknown, although there have been tips phoned into the police that they had been spotted in Florida. Tips can sometimes be unreliable and, as the situation endures, the likelihood of false sightings grows higher. As of today, the police have received tips that Cheyenne and Dalton have been spotted in Alabama, Florida and Texas.
What will happen once Phillips and Hayes have been found and taken into custody? There seems to be some debate, since Dalton may be facing felony charges for crimes committed in Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia, according to the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office. While Chief Shaffer does admit the teens are also facing minor forgery charges in Manning, he has stated his belief that the best place for Cheyenne and Dalton is back home, so he may be convinced to drop the charges under suitable circumstances.
Hayes mother has attempted to reach out to her son through various news outlets, reports Newsday. Ms. Hayes has pleaded with her son to return home and face the consequences of his actions. Unfortunately, true love does not conquer all and Hollywood stories are just fantasy, so Cheyenne Phillips and Dalton Hayes may find the real world will be much harsher with them than their cinematic counterparts.
For another take on this story, check out Jessica Applegate’s article.