‘Affluenza’ teen and his mother detained in Mexico
Monday night, Mexican authorities detained a Texas teen and his mother, who made headlines in the affluenza defense case. The teen pled guilty in the deaths of 4 people, as his team of attorneys used the defense that “affluenza”, to keep him out of jail. In simple terms, his family being rich, was the cause of the crime he committed.
Ethan Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, were taken into custody Monday in a beachside neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta, after they both disappeared when a video surfaced online showing the teenager may have violated his controversial probation for causing a drunken wreck in 2013 that left four people dead.
Mexico’s Jalisco state prosecutors’ office said in a statement that its agents had been working with U.S. authorities through the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara since Dec. 26 to track down the young man and his mother.
After their detention, they were handed over to Mexican immigration authorities for deportation, according to the statement.
Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson and Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the attorney’s office, both confirmed to local media that the two had been taken into custody.
Authorities began searching for Ethan Couch after he failed to report on Dec. 10 for a mandatory appointment with his probation officer.
Couch’s mother disappeared shortly thereafter and was listed as a missing person by U.S. Marshalls on Dec. 21.
Both fled after a video surfaced in November showing the teen at a party where people were drinking. If found to be drinking, Couch’s probation could be revoked and he could serve up to 10 years in prison.
A spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department declined to say if Tonya Couch is facing any charges.
There was no immediate comment Monday night from the U.S. Marshals Service, which had issued a wanted poster promising a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Couch’s whereabouts and capture.
In June 2013 at the age of 16, Couch was driving drunk and speeding on a dark two-lane road south of Fort Worth when he crashed into a disabled SUV off to the side, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in Couch’s pickup truck.
Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury. Because of his age, he wasn’t certified as an adult for trial and a judge sentenced him in juvenile court to 10 years’ probation and a stint in a rehabilitation center.
During the sentencing phase of his trial, Couch’s attorneys relied on a defense expert who argued that Couch’s wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed “affluenza.” The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread ridicule.