DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A suspected serial killer has officially been charged with the deaths of three women whose bodies were found dumped in secluded areas in Daytona Beach more than a decade ago.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri and Lori Napolitano from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Genetic Genealogy Team announced on Thursday the additional indictments against 37-year-old Robert Hayes.
Hayes has been in the Palm Beach County jail since September on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Rachel Elizabeth Bey, who was found strangled and sexually battered on the side of a road in 2016, according to authorities.
At the time of that arrest, officials said they were working to connect Hayes to the deaths of Laquetta Gunter, Julie Green and Iwana Patton, who were shot and killed between 2005 and 2006 in Daytona Beach.
Hayes is now facing three first-degree murder charges in connection with their deaths. Larizza said his office plans to seek the death penalty in those cases.
Napolitano said DNA from the crime scenes was sent to a lab so that a genetic profile could be developed. That profile was then run through public genealogy sites to identify possible relatives to the suspect and from there, detectives were able to identify leads and make an arrest.
Ballistic evidence also helped connect the crimes, records show.
Authorities said the case of Stacey Gage, who was fatally shot in December 2017, is still an open investigation but could be linked to Hayes.
Chitwood said authorities will leave no stone unturned.
“Law enforcement and the criminal justice system is never going to rest when there’s a killer on the loose,” he said.
Law enforcement officials on Thursday also said they’re investigating the case of a woman who said Hayes attacked her around the same time as the other murders and she survived. She didn’t come forward at the time of the crime because Hayes threatened her, authorities said.
Knowing what happened to her could help detectives piece together what happened to the other victims, according to Chitwood.
“Hopefully someday (Hayes will) have the guts to step up and own up to what he did,” Chitwood said.
Hayes was a student at Bethune-Cookman University at the time of the slayings.
Capri said he hopes the indictment will help get justice for the victims and closure for their families.
“I’m just glad we got a dangerous killer off the streets and justice will be served,” he said.
Click through the interactive timeline of the investigation below: