Combined, they owe nearly $65,000
By Robert Cloud
Prior to attending law school and becoming a prosecutor, District Attorney Veronica Isherwood managed Barron County’s Child Support Agency.
That background played a role in her recent decision to file felony charges against three men for failure to pay child support.
“My experience in Barron County taught me that there is so much more at stake than merely receiving payments in order to provide essentials for children,” Isherwood said. “The payment of support shows the children that they are valued by the parent they don’t live with.”
Brandon E. Grall, 35, and Douglas A. Gwinn, 49, both of whom were last known to be living in Clintonville, were charged with one felony count each.
Two separate felony cases involving two different children were filed against Michael D. Ricker, 32, whose last known address was in Waupaca.
Warrants were issued for the arrests of all three men.
Because the men have failed to make support payments from six months to two years, this is not the first time the court has issued warrants for their arrest.
Previous efforts to locate the three men were unsuccessful.
However, this is the first time the warrants were associated with a criminal charge.
“In my experience, a criminal warrant is very effective,” Isherwood said. “Law enforcement will spend more time on seeking and locating the subjects of criminal warrants.”
Isherwood said a criminal warrant is an effective tool in locating someone.
“Any casual contact with law enforcement, anywhere in the country, will indicate that the person is a wanted individual in a felony matter,” she said. “While local law enforcement will take steps to find them, it’s those incidental contacts that usually result in an arrest.”
They face up to 3 1/2 years in prison if convicted.
“Obviously, a prison sentence would put a noncustodial parent in a position where they could not pay while incarcerated,” Isherwood said. “The hope is that the threat of that incarceration would be an incentive to start making payments.”
Isherwood noted there is a responsibility that goes along with having children.
“That responsibility is not just when the family is intact, it continues until those children reach adulthood,” she said.
According to the criminal complaint, Grall was ordered to pay $295 per month in child support, beginning on March 1, 2004.
The child is now 13 years old.
Waupaca County judges previously issued warrants for Grall’s arrest, cited him for contempt and ordered him to make back payments several times.
Grall allegedly has not paid child support since June 26, 2015, and now owes the child’s mother $31,946.
A warrant for Grall’s arrest was last issued on Oct. 22, 2015, but Grall’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Judge Raymond Huber issued a new warrant for Grall’s arrest on June 28.
Gwinn was ordered to pay $90 per week, beginning Jan. 31, 2008.
The child is now 16 years old.
Court documents say he last made a child support payment on July 15, 2016, under an income-withholding court order, and currently owes nearly $5,000.
On Jan. 2, 2017, a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in court for a contempt hearing.
Gwinn’s current address and place of employment remain unknown.
Huber issued a new warrant for Gwinn’s arrest on June 28.
Ricker was ordered to pay $451 per month in child support, beginning Oct. 2, 2006.
This child is now 12 years old.
Ricker’s last payment was made on Dec. 4, 2015. He currently owes $24,274 in child support.
Ricker is also responsible for helping support a child who is now 6 years old.
He was ordered to pay $267 per month, beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
Court records say Ricker made his last child support payment on Dec. 4, 2015, and now owes nearly $5,000 in support of his second child.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on July 29, 2016. But his location and employer remain unknown.
Judge Troy Nielsen issued a warrant for Ricker’s arrest on June 28.