After five years on the run, a Rankin County man is in jail for failure to pay almost a quarter of a million dollars in child support.
Tony Haywood, 50, of Brandon, was arrested by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department last week, according to attorney Matthew Thompson.
Thompson represents Haywood’s ex-wife, Renee Ainsworth. Haywood and Ainsworth, who were married for 16 years, have three children together. The couple divorced in Georgia in 2004. Child support was demanded from a Georgia court.
Haywood did not pay child support, Ainsworth said, and her ex-husband’s check was eventually garnished. Haywood quit his job after the first garnishment and moved to Mississippi, Ainsworth said.
“He told me I would never see any child support after that,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth said, to her knowledge, Haywood has been employed at his family’s trucking business, Haywood Trucking, since 2004. Calls to Haywood Trucking went unanswered Tuesday.
Both Haywood and Ainsworth are from Mississippi. Ainsworth eventually moved back to Mississippi. To support her three children, she briefly signed up for SNAP benefits.
“He may have paid $10,000 the whole time we’ve been divorced,” Ainsworth said. “I don’t own a home anymore, my life has been turned upside down.”
In 2012, a Rankin County judge ordered Haywood to pay $152,298.63 in unpaid child support and Ainsworth’s attorney’s fees.
Haywood did not show up for the hearing, and the judge issued an arrest warrant.
Thompson said Haywood has “been on the lamb” for the last five years.
“He just went off the grid,” Thompson said. “Since January of ’12, he has not paid the current child support like he was supposed to.”
With interest, Haywood now owes $223,776.65.
Haywood last paid $116 in November, Ainsworth said.
He was arrested Feb. 2 for contempt of court by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department. He is in the Rankin County Jail.
“In order for him to get out, he’s going to have to make a good faith sizable payment, as well he should,” Thompson said.
Ainsworth said she was shocked Haywood was arrested. Now, she said, she hopes she and her children can move forward.
“It’s about doing the right thing,” she said. “I’ve been praying for a miracle but this was so out of left field. I didn’t think he would ever get caught. I thought he was above the law … I’m just hoping something good will come out of it for me and my boys.”
Contact Sarah Fowler at 601-961-7303 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.