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6 Parents Arrested in Child Support Roundup

Six parents who authorities say fell behind in child support payments have been arrested in the first major sweep for such offenders the Ventura County district attorney’s office has conducted this year.

Friday’s child support roundup yielded five fathers and one mother who cumulatively owed more than $76,000, said Vinse Gilliam, deputy chief investigator. Those arrested owed amounts ranging from more than $27,000 to almost $3,000, he said.

Among the arrests was one of a dozen people named on the recently released, most-wanted deadbeat parents poster: Sheryl Gath, 30, who was tracked down in Palmdale. The mother of two owed more than $14,000 in child support payments, authorities said. Half of those on the district attorney’s poster have so far been arrested.

The others arrested Friday include four Oxnard men: Ricardo Madrid, 25; Ruben Mata, 38; Martin Chavez, 29; and Kevin Harper, 21. Also, police rounded up Klint Bartle, 41, of Lancaster.

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Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments can avoid jail, at least initially, by turning themselves in, Gilliam said.

“We’ve got well over 800 outstanding warrants on individuals who have not paid their child support,” he said.

People who fail to pay for child support usually claim they cannot afford to do so because they have no job, Gilliam said. In fact, many are paid in cash and are disgruntled because they believe they do not receive sufficient visitation time with their child, he said.

Anyone who believes they have a warrant issued for them and wants to avoid arrest may call investigator Leighton Armstrong at 654-5231.

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