Texas Child Support Evader Arrested In Arkansas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/23/08 - Lonoke, Arkansas

Texas Child Support Evader Arrested In Arkansas

John Vines John Vines

Deputies with the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas arrested Texas Child Support Evader John Vines for failing to pay more than $138,000 in court-ordered child support. Investigators with the Attorney General's Child Support Division traced Vines to Arkansas after receiving a tip on the Attorney General's Evader Hotline.

The Attorney General's Fugitive Unit booked Vines into the Travis County Jail yesterday. Vines, who was added to the Top Ten List of Child Support Evaders in December 2006, was arrested April 3 on two counts of criminal nonsupport. On April 16, a judge ordered Vines to be returned to Texas to face the pending charges. If convicted, Vines faces up to two years imprisonment in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000 on each count.

"Parents have a moral and legal obligation to pay their court-ordered child support," Attorney General Abbott said. "The Office of the Attorney General will continue pursuing parents who violate the law by refusing to support their children. We are grateful to the Travis County District Attorney's Office and Arkansas authorities for their tremendous assistance with this case and their commitment to children."

After receiving an Evader Hotline tip indicating Vines might be in Cabot, Ark., the Attorney General's Child Support Division conducted an investigation and confirmed the information was true. Because civil warrants cannot be executed across state lines, child support investigators worked with the Travis County District Attorney's Office to pursue criminal nonsupport charges. A Travis County grand jury indicted Vines in February 2008. The resulting felony warrant made it possible to arrest Vines in Arkansas and bring him to Texas to face the charges.

In 1988, Vines was ordered to make child support payments of $300 per month. He did not comply with the order and failed to appear at a November 2002 enforcement hearing, where the court found that he owed more than $92,000 in unpaid child support. Due to missed payments and interest that accrues on the unpaid balance, Vines now owes $138,377 in unpaid support for his son.

Attorney General Abbott recently released a new edition of Texas' Top Ten Most Wanted Child Support Evaders. The federally-mandated list includes parents who owe a combined $542,187 in overdue child support.

For a parent to be named a Most Wanted Child Support Evader, delinquent court-ordered support must exceed $5,000 and an arrest warrant must have been issued. The parent's location must be unknown, and the parent must not have made any child support payments in the last six months. The parent must not be involved in bankruptcy proceedings or receiving welfare benefits. The parent with custody of the children must sign a confidentiality waiver before the Evader can be added to the list.

On April 18, Child Support Evader Stephen Zygaj was arrested after he turned himself in to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office. Zygaj owes more than $45,000 in court-ordered child support for the care of a son in Michigan.

The arrests of Zygaj and Vines brings the number of evaders arrested or located since Attorney General Abbott took office in December 2002 to 84.

ckhalil@kltv.com

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