Teenage 'Affluenza' Killer Held In Mexico

Ethan Couch Eric Bradlee Miller

The fugitive "affluenza teen" Ethan Couch and his mother, Tonya, who have been arrested in Mexico, were caught after using one of their phones to call for a takeaway pizza, Mexican authorities have said. The sheriff from the Texas town where the crime occurred had promised that the teen, whose affluenza defense got him probation after his drunk and drugged driving killed four people and injured several more, would be recovered and brought to justice, and hopefully this time, be charged as an adult.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, were being held at immigration offices in Guadalajara on Tuesday.

The police report says that the Couches claimed to be carrying no identification and gave inconsistent stories about their names, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. However, this did not stop Couch from participating in a game of beer pong in a video that was released online a month ago. The probation would not be revoked, because Couch went missing when he was still in the juvenile system.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said he believes the two fled to Puerto Vallarta because they believed they could blend in with the tourists. He would not give details about the event, including how many people attended. The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread ridicule.

"They had planned to disappear", he told a news conference in Fort Worth.

In this case, authorities would be prevented from moving forward with Couch's deportation until the issue of whether deportation would violate his rights is resolved. "To be honest, we are going to breathe a lot easier when they're back in this country", said Anderson. They were likely to be returned to the United States on Wednesday.

"The Mexican authorities have them in custody as we speak, we are working - the marshals are working - to get them back here, to the States", Anderson said.

The Couches reportedly used one of their cellphones to order pizza at a condominium at the resort in Puerto Vallarta on the Mexican Pacific Coast.

When agents went to the condo, the Couches had already moved on, but a tourism operator pointed agents to the mother and son's new home at an apartment in Puerto Vallarta's old town.

At a previously scheduled Jan. 19 court hearing, Wilson had planned to ask a judge to transfer Couch's case into the adult court system from the juvenile system, putting Couch under stricter supervision and leaving him open to harsher punishment if he violated probation.

Sheriff Anderson is disgusted by Couch family behavior.

Taylor, with the United States marshals, said authorities in Mexico began focusing on Puerto Vallarta on Saturday. It was not clear whether they had any accomplices.

Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury.

Couch had missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer, prompting officials to issue a warrant for his arrest on 16 December.

Ethan Couch, his hair darkened, was also said to have regularly visited a corner store across the street from the apartment. "It's impractical to keep him in juvenile court since he isn't behaving correctly", Palmer explained.

Tonya Couch faces a two- to 10-year sentence if convicted of hindering apprehension. Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said she plans to ask a judge to transfer Ethan Couch's case to adult court. If he violates probation, he could face up to 10 years in prison per death, Wilson said.

 

Ethan Couch, 18, became known as the "affluenza" teen during his trial in juvenile court over the 2013 crash.

Related News: