Pro Football Player Wanted in Chatham for Back Child Support - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/14/06

Pro Football Player Wanted in Chatham for Back Child Support

You would think a professional athlete would be able to pay child support. Police say that's not the case for one former Beach High football standout. The Buffalo Bills wanted Jason Thomas and signed him to the team. Police in Chatham County also want Thomas, not to play, but to pay tens of thousand of dollars in back child support.

Thomas may be playing for the Bills next season. The team signed him a few weeks ago as an offensive lineman.

In 1995, Thomas was a star player for Beach High in Savannah. He wore number 73. Thomas then played college ball before turning pro. And while fans may one day want his autograph for posterity, Chatham County wants his autograph on a $31,000 check. That's how much they say he owes in back child support for his three-year-old son.

Chatham County child support investigators have been trying to get him to pay for 2 1/2 years and just put him on their most wanted list. "It's kind of ridiculous," said child support investigator Jamie Jarrell. "He has every opportunity to pay. It seems like he's just a case of not wanting to take on his responsibility as a parent."

Investigators say Thomas has barely paid a dime since his son was six months old. "Come back and take care of this like a man, face up to your responsibilities as a parent, just get yourself back on track so you can take care of your kid," said Jarrell.

Investigators have tried just about everything to get him to pay. They've seized his bank accounts, intercepted his tax refunds, suspended his driver's license and frozen his passport.

"And now there's actually an arrest warrant for him," Jarrell told us.

Thomas didn't show up in court last October. Investigators say, when they find Thomas, he'll go to jail until they set a new court date. Then they say he'll have to explain to a judge why he's been a deadbeat dad.

Investigators say the Buffalo Bills told them they want to help resolve the situation. One way or another, they want to get this money for Thomas' little boy.

"We are going to come after you and we are not going to stop," said Jarrell.

The boy's mother--who has custody--did not want us to identify them for privacy reasons. The Buffalo Bills sent us an email saying they are going to further look into this matter. We also called Thomas' agent, who referred us to his lawyer, who has no comment until he discusses this issue with Thomas.

Thomas signed a two-year contract with the Bills. During his first year, this year, he'll make at least $310,000.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

 

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