Last January, Springfield resident Patricia Bennett finally located her former husband in Florida_16 years after he had left her with two infant daughters and pregnant with a third.
Bennett said she had invested her time and energy in tracking down James Clinton Parker, who was known as Oscar David Gibson when he left her on Aug. 28, 1969, to demand of him the weekly $50 in child support she had been awarded by a court. She wanted all 832 weeks worth: $41,600.
After her story received national media attention, Bennett became a rallying point for women seeking to enforce child support orders. She has yet to receive any of the child support money.
Her attorney, Valerie Szabo, said the matter remains in the courts. A Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has entered a judgment against Bennett's former husband "in excess of $42,000," and Szabo said she is seeking another judgment from that court for interest on that amount and payment of the costs Bennett incurred during her search.
Once the Fairfax court enters a final judgment, Bennett and Szabo have to take it to Florida and attempt to get the Florida courts to collect from Bennett's former husband. Szabo said she didn't know when Bennett might get any money.
Bennett, who works for the federal government and sought publicity for her story in February, no longer wants to talk about the case.
Originally, she had planned to write a book explaining how she found her husband, and back in February said she wanted to help the thousands of women across the country whose husbands had run out on them.
She recently said she is no longer planning a book, declined to talk about the fallout from her successful quest and said the publicity had grown tiresome: "I don't know what's going to happen . . . . I really don't want my privacy invaded anymore."
Bennett's former husband, whom she found living near Tampa with his third wife, declined to discuss the matter.