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.
DEADBEAT DADS ROUNDUP
Desmond Hatchett, 33, of Knoxville, has 30 children by 11 different women. He asked for his child support payments to be reduced – even though his paycheck stretched to just $1.49 per child per month. He is currently in jail for aggravated assault.
Richard M. Colbert from Memphis has 25 children by 18 different women. He claims he does not have to pay for any of them as they are all adults. Another man who shares his name said he regularly gets calls from women and children asking for money.
Terry Tyrone Turnage, also of Memphis, has 23 children by 17 women. He recently filed a petition in court to lower his child payments but never turned up for the hearing. One mother said he had been ordered to pay $279 a month – but the most she had ever seen was $9.
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.
MEMPHIS, TN -
The story of a Tennessee father of 30 made national headlines when he petitioned the state for child support. Since then, Action News 5 has found two Mid-South dads who are working to feed more than a combined 40 children.
“I haven’t seen a case with that many children before,” said attorney Warren Campbell.
Campbell is talking about the case of Terry Tyrone Turnage, the father or 23 children with 17 different women. His case to modify child support set for juvenile court next month will take up the entire docket for the day except for one other case.
After days of searching, we were never able to find Turnage, but we did find another Memphis man with 25 children with 18 women.
“I’m constantly receiving phone calls from people who know this man. They are trying to get in contact with him,” said Richard A. Colbert.
Colbert says he has gotten calls from mothers and children wanting child support from Richard M. Colbert, the man with 25 children.
Action News 5 found Richard M. Colbert and though he didn’t want to look at our camera he did say he does not have any cases in juvenile court because he says all 25 of his children are adults. He says he has had to go to court in the past.
When asked if he had planned to have 25 children. Colbert said, “you never start counting how many kids you expect to have.”
Warren Campbell says if the person ordered to pay child support doesn’t pay, the state ends up paying and there is no legal way to stop people from having children.
Richard M. Colbert feels lucky.
“Everybody’s not able to have children,” Colbert said.
Action News 5 contacted the Department of Human Services, the agency familiar with the Terry Turnage case and his 23 children. They have not yet gotten back with information on the case.