90 / 72
      88 / 68
      90 / 68

      Deadbeat dad arrested after not paying child support

      A McAllen woman is hoping justice will be served after a dead beat dad is arrested for not paying child support.

      Over the past six years Jennifer Villarreal says she has received less than $2,000 in child support from her 7-year-old daughter's father.

      After the Attorney General's Office child support division denied her request for a review, Villarreal didn't have much hope things would change until out of the blue a detective called.

      "After six years somebody did something about this case," Villarreal said.

      Friday morning she got a call that her ex-husband Juan Rueben Garcia was arrested for not paying up.

      Garcia is not the only one, local sheriff's offices have recently held campaigns to arrest parents for not paying child support.

      "This will not be tolerated, if a judge mandates that you pay your monthly child support and if you don't, you are liable to get arrested, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said at a deadbeat parent round up last fall.

      Based on a minimum wage income of $5.15/hour in 2006, Garcia is required to pay a meager $157/month, but unfortunately no employer could verify he worked for them.

      "They told me ~If we do not get verification that the person is working there, if we only get a voicemail, or an answering machine we drop it and no longer pursue the person is working there, TM" Villarreal said.

      The Texas attorney general's office says 80 percent of parents who owe child support pay some or all they owe, but for the 20 percent who don't receive a dime, it is frustrating.

      "The money all that is besides the point, Villarreal said. It's the principal of how our system is not working.

      And until her daughter gets what is rightfully hers, Villarreal says she will keep fighting.

      "He knows where his daughter lives, what phone number to reach her at, everything, it's just a decision not to pay and not to see so she is forgotten, Villarreal said.

      More than $3.5 billion in child support funds were collected last year just in the state of Texas.