Former Tacoma man named 'worst deadbeat dad' in U.S.

TACOMA, Wash. -- A former Tacoma man has been branded the worst deadbeat dad in the nation.

Federal investigators say 52-year-old Kenneth Jones owes more than $259,000 in child support.

Jones made the Most Wanted Deadbeat Parents List compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The department launched the online list last year with photos and basic background information on alleged deadbeats, and says it tries the list when all else fails, but only if the collecting parent is willing to cooperate.

Jones' overdue child support for his two children dates back to 1998. In 2006, a warrant was issued for his arrest and he has been on the run ever since. Federal officials believe Jones left Tacoma in 2004, and is now living in Sydney, Australia.

The majority of child support cases fall under state jurisdiction, but the feds can intervene when parents don't pay for more than a year, owe more than $5,000 or leave the state or country to avoid paying.

"These are felony cases, and my prosecutors will work tirelessly to ensure violators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said DHHS Deputy Inspector General Gary Cantrell.

DHHS is working with the U.S. Attorney's Office and law enforcement officials to track Jones. They had hoped to arrest him not too long ago at his mother's funeral, but he never showed.