CONROE- Four days after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released his Child Support Division’s new Top Ten List of Texas’ Most Wanted Child Support Evaders, complete with photos, two suspects were in jail and both arrests have a Conroe connection.
Texas law mandates the AG’s Office release the names of the Top Ten, who currently owe a combined total of $521,181 in back child support. Along with the list came a plea from Abbott to fellow Texans to help locate the most serious evaders. Some of his fellow Texans complied.
Friday evening, deputies with the Pct. 2 Constable’s Office arrested 39-year-old Angela Keller of Livingston as she exited a local hospital. According to the AG’s Office, Keller owes $45,017 in back child support for her two children.
Pct. 2 Constable Gene Deforest said he received a call from the Attorney General’s Office Friday morning stating they had received information about a fugitive in the Conroe area.
“They asked if I’d contact a Polk County deputy who had the information,” Deforest said. “When I called, I learned (Keller) was at a local hospital, but I didn’t know if she was a patient or maybe took someone there.”
Deforest sent deputies to the hospital to investigate and they learned Keller was a patient, scheduled to be released on Saturday, he said. Deputy Tim Shackelford was supposed to be contacted on Saturday when Keller was about to be released, but her discharge was moved to Friday evening.
“They went to the hospital and waited, and when (Keller) came out, they took her into custody,” Deforest said.
Keller’s arrest came a day after the arrest of 56-year-old Edward Ringo of Conroe who owes $106,968 in delinquent child support for his three children. Ironically, that arrest occurred in Polk County, where Keller lives. Deforest said the officer who arrested Ringo was the same one who called him about Keller.
In a press release, Abbott stated, “Angela Keller has turned her back on her children by refusing to pay child support.”
A more in-depth study of the case posted online by the AG’s office accurately stated Keller was believed to be living in Polk County. However, she apparently came to Montgomery County for unspecified medical care.
The report states Keller was court-ordered in 1994 to make payments of $150 per month, and by 2004 owed over $31,000. She was placed on probation, but remained noncompliant and in 2008 an arrest warrant was issued after Keller failed to appear at a revocation hearing. With additional missed payments and accrued interest, Keller now owes in excess of $45,000 in unpaid child support. She was one of only two women on the Top Ten list.
The tip about Keller came from someone who identified themselves as her employer, who had learned she was a fugitive when they saw her photo, Deforest said.
The Constable said the case proved the value of publishing photos of people who are wanted, because someone who knows them will see it and report their location as in this case.
“I like it when a plan comes together,” Deforest said, adding, “My guys did a great job.”
He and the Attorney General had harsh words for child support evaders.
“Any deadbeat parent needs to take care of their business,” Deforest said. “Even when they go their separate ways – they still need to fulfill their responsibilities.”
When parents neglect their obligations, the burden is placed on society, he said.
“If everybody would take care of their own, we’d have a better world,” Deforest said.
Abbott’s statement was a warning. “Parents who ignore their responsibility to support their children must be held accountable for violating the law, he said.”<