MEMPHIS — You may remember the story about a Memphis man who has more than 20 children. Well, we know more about Terry Turnage.
We found Turnage at a court hearing. He faced jail time if he didn’t show up.
“How come you are not paying your child support? Can you answer that? “ asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.
He had no answer to News Channel 3 or the mothers of his children.
“Last time I went to juvenile court trying to see how come the payments are so low, the number was at twenty five,” said one of the mothers of his children, who wants to go by “Carie”.
Turnage has at least 25 kids and some of their 15-plus mothers say he pays them pocket change in child support.
“What were you getting?“ asked Hall.
“Five dollars ,” said Tara Smith, who has a 15-year-old son with him.
“I only got six dollars, nine dollars,” said LaToya Shieds, who has a young daughter with Turnage.
“A dollar and 26 cents,” said Carrie.
The women say the child support stopped altogether this year, while a picture of the 48-year-old popped-up on Facebook, him posing with a stack of one hundred dollar bills.
“The last time I saw him he was in a BMW,” said Smith.
“Yes, a lot of nice cars, different properties,” said Carrie.
But Turnage showed-up to a November 1st court hearing wearing ragged pants, and a paint-splattered sweatshirt claiming to have nothing.
“You’ve got no income,” said the judge.
“No sir,” said Turnage.
Turnage was in court accused of driving on a suspended license.
A judge suspended it in July because he owes child support and skipped a juvenile court hearing.
“Well, I was kinda hoping that he did show up but he didn’t,” said Smith.
Smith was there that day. Court officials said he owed her $27,000 and another woman, also in court, $36,000 child support.
Smith’s 15-year-old-son, Deandre, also came along, hoping to get a glimpse of a father he hasn’t seen since he was seven.
“What do you remember?” asked Hall.
“That he drove by,” said Deandre.
“He just drove by? And said hello?”
“He just blew the horn, I guess ,” said Deandre.
“And you still remember that all these years later?” asked Hall.
Since then, Deandre says is father is nowhere to be found. Something Family Attorney Miles Mason calls being “off the grid”.
“You are not going to find it on Google, but professional dead beat,” said Mason.
On record, Turnage only has one property under his name: a burnt down house on the South side of Memphis. Other properties we found that he has listed as addresses were registered to family members or associates.
“If the purchaser, say a deadbeat dad, owns a car but has it in someone else`s name that would be an effective way to hide those assets,” said Mason.
What we do know is that in 2008, Turnage bought a Caddilac Escalade and BMW and paid them both off within a year and recently he was pulled over driving a blue Dodge Ram.
That’s the same car that he drove away in after his hearing for driving on a suspended license.
Some would call a clear sign of disregard for the system. It’s something the judge noticed in court.
“There can`t be any misunderstanding between you and me because between the two of us if there is a misunderstanding you are the one who is going to suffer,” said the judge.
But as Turnage drove away and out of range of our cameras, it’s clear it’s not him who is suffering, it’s his children.
“You can`t make up for no 15 years,” said Smith.
By Sabrina Hall, WREG.