Prosecutor’s Office investigator locates child support fugitive owing $34K

The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office tracked down a woman who was wanted for more than three years for allegedly being over $30,000 behind on child support payments.

Michelle N. Jones, 44 of Economy, is charged with non-support of a dependent child, a Level 6 Felony. A warrant was issued for her arrest in Johnson County in September 2019, after which she fled the county and had not been found until recently. She allegedly owes $34,000 in child support payments, according to a news release from the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Johnson County Prosecutor Investigator Joseph Wertzberger lead the investigation to find Jones, and he was able to locate her in the small town of Economy, Indiana, near the Ohio border. She was arrested in Economy on Wednesday

“I looked at it when I first got here and thought ‘She’s gone to the wind,’ Wertzberger said in a written statement about the file. “I checked for known associates and thought there was just enough to justify driving over (to Wayne County).”

Jones was last known to live in Richmond, which is near Economy and where Wertzberger traveled first, the news release says. There, he found her former roommate, who gave him information about Jones’s new living situation with a man in Economy. The roommate only had the man’s first name, and no last name.

Wertzberger was able to then track down the man Jones was living with on social media, where there was an account with them together in a profile picture. He called in the help of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department to find their home address, the release says.

Wertzberger, accompanied by deputies from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, went to the house on Wednesday to serve the warrant.

Upon their approach, Wertzberger saw Jones emerging from the home. When Jones saw the officers she let out a scream and fled inside, according to the news release. Eventually, the officers entered the home to arrest Jones “after a brief struggle.”

Jones was booked into the Wayne County jail Wednesday and was transferred to the Johnson County jail on Friday.

“We’re proud of the initiative and diligence Investigator Joseph Wertzberger showed in tracking down this fugitive and in making this arrest,” Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner said in a statement. “I knew when I brought Joey (in) he was the right man for the job and he would make us proud. Tracking down individuals who are charged with not supporting their kids is the principal task of this investigator and he does it very well.”