The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office is working to track down a man who owes more than $84,000 in unpaid child support. The felony charges were filed on Monday Feb. 13.
Edwin Clarence Fields, 42, of Oklahoma owes $33,999.36 to one child, $28,098.00 to another, $13,949.36 to another and between $2,000 and $3,000 to four more kids.
In all, Fields is charged with failing to pay support on seven of his children, who range in age from 11 to 25. Records show most have been trying to collect support for 15 years.
“One case in particular I know, I was looking back and it was only $46 dollars a month, and he still failed to pay,” said DHS Attorney Dawn Zellner.
Zellner handles thousands of child support cases, and is currently handling the Fields case. She works relentlessly every day to track down parents who fail to pay child support. She looks for their banking records, tax returns, anything that can get them to pay what they owe.
Sometimes they even collect from delinquent parents’ social security accounts, even after the children are grown and gone.
“You can't just let a person escape that has that many children to support and doesn't do it,” said Zellner.
Many men, women and children have been waiting years for their child support payments, only to be told the parent who isn't paying can't be found. They also face the fear of retaliation by the parent. But that doesn't stop Zellner and others at DHS from trying get the delinquent parent to pay up, no matter how long it takes.
“As a parent you want to do everything you can for your child,” said Zellner. “So you’re very disappointed that a person could father children, but not want to support them.”
Zellner says both they and the DA offices work together to make sure chronic offenders are criminally charged.
By state statute, any person who fails to pay court-ordered child support for more than a year, or who accrues more than $5,000 in back child support, could be charged with a felony. And if convicted, could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
According to Oklahoma Child Support Services, they collected more than $367 million in child support in 2016, and served more than 222,626 Oklahoma children. They have established child support orders in 83% of open cases last year.
“If anything it gets the attention out there that you can't hide from us, that we're going to come find you,” said Zellner.
There are a total of six active arrest warrants out for Fields. He also goes by the name Edward Charles Streeter and is no stranger to the Oklahoma County jail. News 9 checked and he has been arrested 20 times for things like DUI, traffic tickets, drug related charges and forgery.