Oklahoma City – The first person ever placed on Oklahoma Child Support’s Most Wanted list awaits transport today to face a Pittsburg County judge after being arrested Wednesday in Oklahoma City. John Dale Rutledge, age 59, owes more than $63,000 in child support and had eluded authorities for over a decade when his freedom came to an end the day before Thanksgiving.
Rutledge was found and captured following a tip provided to Roger Baker, an Oklahoma Child Support Services (OCSS) state investigative agent. With the assistance of the Oklahoma City Police Dept., Rutledge was arrested and held through the weekend. The Oklahoma County Detention Center served Rutledge Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, where he awaits transport to the Pittsburg County Jail in McAlester.
“It appears that Oklahoma County provided this man more on Thanksgiving than he provided his own family,” said Jeff Wagner, an OCSS spokesperson.
OCSS created Oklahoma Child Support’s Most Wanted list in 2003. The list solicits public help in locating individuals who evade legal obligations to financially support their children. To be on the list, the individual must have an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest. Rutledge’s name was the very first to appear on the list, placed there by Agent Baker seven years ago.
Rutledge was arrested Wednesday on a bench warrant for failing to appear at a 1999 child support hearing in Pittsburg County.
“When parents fail a legal obligation to support their children,” Wagner said, “there can be serious social consequences for the child and, as in this case, serious legal consequences for the parent.”
The Oklahoma Child Support’s Most Wanted program has helped locate more than 600 individuals owing child support. To learn more about the program, visit www.okdhs.org and click “CS Most Wanted.”
Oklahoma Child Support Services is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. OCSS enhances the well-being of children through its mission to establish, monitor and enforce a reliable source of support for the families it serves. The division is responsible for more than 195,000 active child support cases, collecting approximately $300 million a year on behalf of children and families.