Claiborne County law enforcement officers banded together last Wednesday to bring in 23 people child support violations. The Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office along with police officers from Tazewell and New Tazewell joined forces during the early morning hours of Aug. 21 to search last known addresses of those chosen from the top of the county’s 1,576 adjudicated child support violation cases.
Sheriff David Ray said the county currently has 2,011 active cases with 435 still pending for adjudication.
“Most of these cases involve state aid, like food stamps. The state is pursuing these parents who have refused to pay child support in the hopes that some of the money spent in aid will be reimbursed,” he said.
Ray said the initial roundup Wednesday morning netted no felons. However, the names have been entered into the national database.
“If any of these people are stopped in any state for any reason, their warrants will be pulled up and they will be brought into the Claiborne County Jail,” he said.
Once incarcerated, it will take a minimum 10 percent cash bond to be released. Each parent will then be expected to fulfill the remainder of the outstanding child support, he said.
Patrol officers, lead by Deputy Tim Shrout and Lt. Stephen Hurley, divided 23 warrants during a debriefing early last Wednesday morning inside the Claiborne County Justice Center just prior to fanning out to the four corners of the county.
Among his stack of warrants, Shrout attempted to apprehend Bradley, Trudi and Tim Slezak, three members of a Claiborne County family who were also jointly wanted for violation of probation, failure to appear and violation of Community Corrections.
Shrout and his officers braved dense woodland on foot to bring the three into custody. However, their homes were found empty.
Ray and District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones issued a statement around noon last Wednesday saying the two offices will work together to ensure the enforcement of the state’s child support laws.
“We take responsibility for protecting these children and bringing to justice those parents who chose not to be responsible to provide for their children,” the statement reads, in part.
This roundup is the first of its kind in the county.
The first batch being sought for nonpayment of child support are: Christopher Atkins, Tracy Brooks, Gregory Brown, Tamasa Carroll, Leanna Essary, Michael Johnson, Roger Lephew, Justin Lovin, Douglas Mayes, Jason Norton, Kathy Patton, Gary Payne, John D. Rouse, Ronnie Reynolds, Curtis Russell, Christopher Shiver, David Teague, David Welch, Penny Wells and Jessie Wolfe.