Three men in Tennessee have notched up a staggering 78 children by 46 different women between them – and are doing their best to squirm out of paying for a single one.
Terry Turnage has 23 children with 17 different women, while Richard M. Colbert has 25 children with 18 women. But Desmond Hatchett takes the record with 30 children with 11 women.
On rare occasions, they pay a few dollars to the long-suffering mothers but mostly leave the state to pick up the slack – while one eludes his responsibilities altogether thanks to a stint in prison.
The latest deadbeat dad to emerge from the state is Turnage, who was summoned before a judge over child support payments for his 23 kids by 17 different women – but didn’t show up to court.
One of the mothers, who had spent nearly eight years with Turnage, said her knees buckled when a prosecutor told her that the father of her child had 20 other children.
‘During the whole relationship, I only knew of four children,’ Latoya Shields told WREG. ‘At that time, three years ago, my child was the 21st child. Yeah, that would be overwhelming for anybody.’
Last month, Turnage filed a petition at Shelby County Juvenile Court to lower his child support payments for the mothers of his children – but never turned up to the hearing.
Shields said the virile dad has shown little interest in his daughter. ‘She calls him and it’s a “hi” and “bye, see you later” type of situation,’ she said.
She added that he hardly ever pays child support, but when he has, the checks have been between $6 and $9 – as he is likely splitting his earnings between all 17 women.
The meager sums come despite the court ordering Turnage to pay Shields $259 a month for their child – but she said she does not expect to see that sort of money.
The most prolific dad is 33-year-old Desmond Hatchett, of Knoxville, who has 30 children by at least 11 different women. Last month, he asked for the courts to give him a break from paying for them.
It is little surprise the virile dad is unable to pay up: he has been in and out of prison for the past three years – during which time he has somehow reportedly fathered another nine children.
He was sentenced to six years in prison for aggravated assault, but most of the term was suspended for ‘enhanced probation’ – which he promptly violated by getting arrested for domestic violence.
Hatchett now remains behind bars in the Morgan County Correctional Complex, and has lost two parole bids, according to The Smoking Gun.
When Hatchett was earning a minimum wage salary, legally half of his paycheck was seized by the state every month to pay for his scores of offspring, who are all under 14 years old.
Depending on the ages and needs of the children, he should have been paying anywhere between $25 and $309 to the mothers of his children.
But in reality, his paycheck only allowed a paltry $1.49 per child.
He told Fox2Now.com where it all went wrong: ‘I had four kids in the same year. Twice.’
But he said he does manage to remember all their names, ages and birth dates.
Hatchett first appeared in court on missing child support charges in 2009, when he had 21 children. He said he would not father any more – but has had nine more in the past three years.
‘I didn’t intend to have this many, it just happened,’ he said.
In his latest court appearance last month, 11 women were seeking child support payments from the man, who has set a Knox County record for his ability to reproduce.
Following in close pursuit is Richard M. Colbert, who has 25 children by 18 different women. But Colbert claims he doesn’t have to pay for a single one – as they are all adults.
And he added, he feels lucky. ‘Everybody’s not able to have children,’ he told Action News 5.
Another man in the state said he bears the brunt of Colbert’s poor choice. The unfortunately named Richard A. Colbert is inundated with calls from women and children demanding child support.
‘I’m constantly receiving phone calls from people who know this man. They are trying to get in contact with him,’ Richard A. Colbert said.
Attorney Warren Campbell told Action News 5 if a person does not pay child support, the state ends up paying and there is no legal way to stop people from having children.