By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News
Troy Lee Neel, accused of owing almost $725,000 in child support, was taken into custody in Los Angeles on Thursday.
As of Wednesday, Neel owed $724,345 for his two children, dating to November 1998, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Web site. That year, Neel was ordered to pay $5,000 a month in support, a number based on his earnings as a professional athlete.
“We have been pursuing him vigorously since then,” said Janece Rolfe, spokeswoman for the child support division.
The Freeport native was married and had two children before divorcing in 1997, Travis County records show.
After leaving baseball, he moved to Vanuatu, a group of islands between Fiji and Australia. He bought some property called the Erakor Island Resort and was a popular figure, according to the Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper.
The U.S. State Department this year had refused to issue him a new passport, and officials pressured the Vanuatan government to deport him to Australia, which has an extradition agreement with the United States.
“I want to sort out this issue in the U.S.A. and intend (on) obtaining a ticket to go back voluntarily,” he was quoted as saying. “I was hoping to use the sale of the resort to raise funds to pay what I owe and I have been sending (monthly payments) back to the U.S.A. for a couple of years.