Report: Florida man's alleged kidnap, rape victim escaped in Lenoir City

A man faces federal charges after court records state he kidnapped his ex-girlfriend in Florida, threatening to “trick her out” as a prostitute before killing her and repeatedly beating and raping her before she escaped in Lenoir City.

Justin Aaron Hayes, 36, of Lake Butler, Fla., has been indicted in U.S. District Court on charges of kidnapping and domestic violence in an April incident involving an ex-girlfriend.

According to arrest records and court documents, Hayes allegedly kidnapped his former girlfriend in Florida in April. He held her hostage as he drove, first, to Knoxville, where he allegedly raped her, and next, to Lenoir City, where she escaped, records stated.

“(The woman) reported that Hayes had repeatedly threatened to take her life throughout the trip from Florida to Knoxville and to Lenoir City, reportedly with a hatchet, box-cutting knife and ball bat,” Loudon County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Blake Garland wrote in a report.

“According to (the woman), Hayes drove her from Florida starting on April 17, 2017, and informed her that he was taking her to Ohio to meet his friend, John Hancock, and that they were going to ‘trick her out’ before burying her body.”

On April 20, she tricked Hayes into allowing her to go inside a convenience store in Lenoir City to use the restroom, and she begged for help from a store clerk while Hayes waited outside, the report stated.

Garland and other deputies responded. Hayes allegedly fled but was later captured. Inside the vehicle in which the woman and Hayes had been traveling, deputies found blood on the front seat and “large wads” of hair, the report stated.

The woman told Garland that Hayes grabbed her hair repeatedly to keep her from escaping the vehicle. Garland’s report indicated the woman appeared battered and bloody.