Suspect caught after manhunt in rain

Daniel Graham Hayes after being taken into custody. (CCSO photo)
Daniel Graham Hayes after being taken into custody. (CCSO photo)

Law enforcement turned out in force for a rainy, muddy manhunt after a suspect allegedly entered an elderly woman’s home Monday. 

Daniel Graham Hayes, 31, allegedly cut the telephone wires to the woman’s Blackwell Road home and broke in while she was inside Monday, according to the sheriff’s office. He fled the home after about five minutes. The woman was not hurt.

A short while later, Hayes was reportedly spotted by Craig Shawn Davis as the suspect was gaining entry into a building on Davis’ property. A reciprocating saw was reported missing after the theft.

Davis and the female victim called 911 around the same time, and a deputy responding to the call recognized Hayes’ vehicle from the radio traffic, the report said. When he activated his blue lights and siren, Hayes drove into a cornfield and mired down, then fled on foot.
The reports said officers found needles, cash and a substance that tested positive for crystal methamphetamine in his abandoned vehicle.

Using social media and the new sheriff’s office app, warnings were sent out to residents along Dolph Lewis, Blackwell Road, and Cedar Grove. The warnings were then shared throughout the area.

The county SWAT and mantracking teams, along with K-9 officers and detectives, swept the area for more than six hours. They finally ran Hayes down and took him into custody just before 10 p.m.

The search continued through violent thunderstorms and heavy rains that blanketed the area. As the evening wore on, County Commissioner Chairman Rickey Bullard provided a meal for the search teams and support staff.

Hayes was charged with breaking and entering, larceny, damage to property, felony fleeing to elude arrest, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle for drug activities, resisting an officer, and three counts of failure to appear. Some of the charges were from Craven County. Arrest records show Hayes has an extensive criminal record for drugs, theft, fraud and forgery.

Hayes could face additional charges, according to the sheriff’s office, The investigation is continuing.

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Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at