Police: Suspected Florida Serial Killer Linked To At Least 4 Homicides In Custody

Investigators said Robert Hayes could be the so-called “Daytona Serial Killer.”

September 16, 2019
Mug shot of Robert Hayes [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]

Photo by: Mug shot of Robert Hayes [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]

Mug shot of Robert Hayes [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]

By: Catherine Townsend

Police have arrested a suspected serial killer allegedly linked to at least four unsolved killings, according to media reports.

Robert Hayes, 37, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Elizabeth Bey, 32, according to Miami's WFOR-TV. Authorities reportedly found Bey's naked body along the Beeline Highway in Riviera Beach on March 7, 2016.

Police announced at a press conference that, during the investigation into Bey's death, they found evidence that allegedly links Hayes to the slayings of at least three other victims killed between 2005 and 2006.

"When you look at this, we knew we had a situation here that was probably the same person committing these crimes; we had a serial killer," Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said at the press conference.

"I can't be more happy we got this killer off the streets," Capri added.

According to Southwest Florida's WFTX-TV, an arrest report states that on September 13, 2019, agents with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Task Force purportedly observed Hayes throwing away a cigarette while waiting for a bus.

They were able to obtain the cigarette and had it tested for DNA. The sheriff's office alleges the DNA matches evidence found on Bey's body, as well as DNA from three other unsolved homicides.

LaQuetta Gunther; Julie Ann Green, Iwana Patton [Police handout]

Photo by: LaQuetta Gunther; Julie Ann Green, Iwana Patton [Police handout]

LaQuetta Gunther; Julie Ann Green, Iwana Patton [Police handout]

Those victims — LaQuetta Gunther, 45; Julie Green, 34; and Iwana Patton, 35 — were fatally shot in Daytona Beach between 2005 and 2006. Authorities reportedly recovered all of the bodies from wooded areas.

Police also stated they suspect Hayes in the killing of Stacy Gage, a 30-year-old woman whose body was found in 2008. Capri said investigators, "don't know at this point in time if it's related," and added that they are still actively investigating Gage's case.

Over the years, some media reports dubbed the killer the "Daytona Serial Killer," according to The Palm Beach Post. The killer allegedly left semen on some of his victims.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at the press conference that investigators are "pretty certain he would have killed again," according to The Palm Beach Post.

After allegedly matching Hayes' DNA to evidence found at the scene of the unsolved homicides, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Daytona Beach police began a joint investigation.

At the press conference, the sheriff's office said the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, as well as the State Attorney's Office of the Seventh Judicial Circuit and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, contributed to the investigation.

Capri said years ago, when Hayes was a college student, he was one of "hundreds of people" interviewed early in the investigation. But investigators did not have sufficient evidence to charge him at that time, the police chief said.

Despite the difficulties of the investigation, detectives never gave up, Capri added.

"We just don't come to a dead-end and say, 'Okay the case is over,'" he said in the press conference. "We continue to work to try and get closure for the victim and the victim's family members."

Also in the press conference, Capri reportedly referred to Hayes as a "disgusting serial killer" and said that the department focused on getting him behind bars and "off the streets so that he never gets out."

Hayes appeared in court on Monday morning and was denied bond, according to WFTX-TV.

The investigation continues, and police say they may file additional charges.

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