Man held on $6.5M bond for alleged rape of 74-year-old woman

Belmont neighborhood rape suspect arrested
Belmont neighborhood rape suspect arrested
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Metro Police announced the arrest of the man believed to have raped a woman in her West Nashville home on July 23.

Police announced the arrest of 46-year-old Phillip Hayes during a news conference on Thursday morning.

Hayes was seen on a surveillance camera by a resident on Gale Lane early Tuesday morning. The person called it in to police and officers found Hayes walking on the street.

Chief Drake is certain Hayes intended to find another unlocked door in that Breeze Hill neighborhood and commit the same horrendous crime.

On Saturday, July 23, the 74-year-old woman was gardening outside of her home in the West Nashville area near Bowling Avenue, behind Elmington Park. Hayes allegedly followed her inside her house and hid for roughly 30 minutes before she encountered him.

Hayes is charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated burglary.

The incident has neighbors on edge.

“We go out every day, every morning,” says Gosia Gmyrek, a nanny who works in the area. She says each day she walks the child she watches around Elmington Park.

“So today we were prepping he (employer) asked, ‘;are you going to Elmington again?’” she said. “He was like ‘please be careful – watch out’.”

She’s being more cautious now after Metro Police released a photo of the suspect. They say the victim was doing yard work and afterward walked into her home when the man surprised her.

“She was just a poor quiet old lady doing her job, like doing her stuff,” said Gmyrek. “It’s even more strange.”

“I would think at that chapter of life you would never think that you would be the target of that kind of crime,” says Hallie Jones.

Jones says she’s disturbed and worried for people living in the area.

“I’m concerned that we don’t have enough funding for our police and there are not enough people that they can devote to find this person,” voiced Jones.

Gmyrek said even after the incident, she still feels safe. She just wants others to also be aware.

“Always be careful just anywhere you go with anyone,” said Gmyrek. “Just always check twice.”

Neighbors in the area say they are locking their doors, but they say the woman was gardening in her backyard, a task most people don’t lock their doors for.

Hayes is now held on a $6,550,000 bond.

Police say the suspect is white, bald, and has tattoos on his chest and hands. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.

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