The first person placed on the state's most-wanted list of people accused of failing to pay child support was arrested the day before Thanksgiving, officials with the state Department of Human Services said Monday.
John Dale Rutledge, who is accused of owing more than $63,000 in child support, had evaded capture for more than 11 years. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest in 1999 after he failed to appear for a Pittsburg County child support hearing.
When DHS' Child Support Services Division created its most-wanted list in 2003, Rutledge was the first person listed.
Based on a tip, authorities arrested Rutledge, 59, on Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
DHS' most-wanted list solicits help from the public in locating people accused of evading legal obligations to financially support their children. A person must have an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest to be placed on the list, according to a DHS news release.
DHS officials credit the most-wanted program with helping them locate more than 600 people accused of owing child support since the program's inception. More information about the program is available at www.okdhs.
â€œWhen parents fail a legal obligation to support their children, there can be serious social consequences for the child and, as in this case, serious legal consequences for the parent,â€ said Jeff Wagner, spokesman for the division.
The division is responsible for more than 195,000 active child support cases and collects about $300 million a year on behalf of children and families, officials said.