Police in Florida believe they have taken a serial killer off the streets, announcing at a press conference Monday they used DNA evidence to allegedly link a 37-year-old man to the murders of four women.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri described Robert Hayes as a “disgusting serial killer,” saying forensic testing has connected him to the cold-case murders of three women in that city alone.
Hayes was arrested over the weekend by Palm Beach authorities and charged with the 2016 murder of 32-year-old Rachel Bey, who was sexually assaulted, severely beaten and strangled.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said he believes Hayes would have killed again.
Hayes has only been charged, at this point, with Bey’s murder, officials said Monday.
But Capri said the DNA evidence allegedly links Hayes to the killings of LaQuetta Gunther, 45, Julie Ann Green, 34, and Iwana Patton, 35, who were all found shot to death in Daytona Beach between 2005 and 2006.
For years, authorities have referred to the person behind those three connected killings as “the Daytona Beach killer.”
Police believe the three murdered women were sex workers.
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It is also possible Hayes could be connected to the murder of a fourth woman in Daytona Beach: Stacey Gage, 30, was killed in 2007, but her body wasn’t recovered until 2008.
She had no history of prostitution arrests.
Hayes appeared in court on Monday and was ordered held without bond.
It is unclear whether Hayes has entered a plea to the sole charge against him or whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
Police said Monday they are looking for additional victims.