NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 46-year-old man has been arrested for the rape of a woman in her 70s at her home in a neighborhood off Bowling Avenue behind Elmington Park last weekend.
Metro police reported Phillip Hayes has been charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated burglary.
Hayes has been in custody since Tuesday morning on charges of assaulting an officer, auto burglary, resisting arrest and possession of meth, according to Metro police. He was deemed to be a suspect in Saturday’s rape case shortly after his arrest and was questioned at the downtown detention center Tuesday evening.
During questioning, Hayes reportedly acknowledged a publicly released surveillance photo of a man wearing green shorts captured by a surveillance camera in the neighborhood was indeed him. Chief Drake said when he was asked about the rape, Hayes ended the interview.
Hayes refused to comply with a search warrant for a DNA sample at the jail, according to Metro police. He ultimately complied after being taken to Metro General Hospital Wednesday morning. The DNA sample was ultimately taken to the MNPD crime lab, where Metro police said scientists confirmed Hayes’s DNA matches evidence recovered in the rape case.
Hayes was taken into custody after a homeowner in the 900 block of Gale Lane called 911 at 4:20 a.m. Tuesday to report a man who had rung the doorbell for several minutes was going through their Jeep parked outside.
Responding officers found footprints going back toward the resident’s property up to the back door. Surveillance cameras show the man, later identified as Hayes, walking around on the property.
Officers looked for the man in the darkness but could not find him. But they did find a vacant black minivan in a ditch partially blocking Gale Lane. Metro police reported the van was a rental and was stolen from an 11th Avenue North hotel on July 22.
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Officer Michael Hodges had the van towed and just after the wrecker drove off, Hayes came walking up to officers around 5:25 a.m. Officer Hodges stopped Hayes, recognizing him from the surveillance footage he had seen a short while earlier and asked him where he was going.
According to a release, Hayes claimed to be out for a walk and said he lived in Brentwood. When Officer Hodges attempted to detain Hayes and handcuff him, he began flailing his arms and took off running. Officer Hodges and Officer Alex Perry apprehended Hayes at 6:55 a.m. Tuesday in the 2500 block of Eighth Avenue South shortly after he emerged from a wood line.
“We know of no legitimate reason for Hayes to have been on Gail Lane Tuesday morning. I believe that citizen’s call at 4:20 a.m. set in motion a response for midtown Hills officers that took a very dangerous man off our street,” explained Chief Drake.
It is not clear how long Hayes has been in the Nashville area.
“I know that today’s charges come as a relief to residents in the neighborhood surrounding Boling Avenue who understandably were shaken and scared from this horrendous crime,” explained Chief Drake.
“I want to thank the victim for working closely with us, detectives in our special victims divisions for following leads in the case throughout the weekend and this week, and scientists at our crime laboratory who were called in over the weekend to begin analysis. I want to express my appreciation this morning to the homeowner on Gail Lane who called 911 at 4:20 am. Tuesday to report that a man had rung the doorbell several times and was going through the family’s Jeep parked outside. It was that telephone call that ultimately led to Phillips Hayes’s arrest,” said Chief Drake.
Hayes has no arrest history in Nashville prior to Tuesday. Metro police reported he was arrested in Lebanon in May on charges of driving without a license, auto theft and misdemeanor drug possession. He is a convicted felon out of Virginia on charges of cocaine and assault. He also has arrest histories in Florida, where he was convicted of indecent exposure, and in Kentucky.
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.