‘Affluenza’ teen, mother planned flight to Mexico

A Texas teenager who had been missing for weeks is captured in Mexico.

A Texas teenage fugitive and his mother attempted to disguise themselves and disappear among the American tourists who flocked to a Mexican resort city for the holidays, but are now in custody and set for deportation to the US, authorities said Tuesday.

Ethan Couch, the teen who invoked “affluenza” as a defense after killing four people while drunk-driving, has been found and arrested in Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

Ethan Couch’s attorney, Reagan Wynn, declined to comment, saying in a statement he had not had the chance yet to speak with his client.

Anderson said it appears the two planned their disappearance and even held something of a going-away party. Although lawyers in the case did not specifically use “affluenza” as Couch’s defense, Miller used the term in his testimony as a paid witness for the defense.

The mother and son apparently entered Mexico by land, said Ricardo Vera, a local official for Mexico’s National Migration Institute. The pair are believed to have driven the truck from the Fort Worth area deep into Mexico, but he would not say whether they still had it with them, or how they supported themselves on the run. He was accompanied by his mother Tonya Couch, 48.

While her son’s attorneys filed paperwork to block Mexican authorities from deporting him, the mother of “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch left Mexico Wednesday and was on the way to Los Angeles, Mexican government sources said.

About 11:45 p.m. on June 15, 2013, Couch was speeding down a road in southern Tarrant County in an F-350 pickup with seven teenage passengers when he veered off the road, clipped an SUV and smashed into its driver and three other people.

The office of Tarrant County District Attorney in November asked a court to move Ethan Couch’s case to adult court, where the potential repercussions for failing to follow the rules of probation include are greater.

NBC notes that “affluenza is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an official diagnosis”.

Texas law allows the juvenile judge to keep the case in his court – and allow Ethan Couch to go free after serving time in a detention facility until his 19th birthday in April, Wilson said.

Ethan Couch, his hair darkened, was also said to have regularly visited a corner store across the street from the apartment.

If Couch were transferred into the adult court system, he could face 120 days in jail for fleeing and up to 40 years in prison if he violated probation again, Wilson said. An official told CNN Tuesday that U.S. Marshals tracked him to Puerto Vallarta by tracing his cellphone usage.

Couch, who was 16 at the time of the crash, “had a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit”.

Tonya Couch is now charged with hindering apprehension of a criminal, a felony that carries 2 to 10 years in prison.

Officials in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office in Texas confirmed reports of the arrest in Puerto Vallarta.

If Couch were to remain in juvenile court, another reporter asked, would it be the case that his “fleeing is not going to cost him anything?” If that happens, he will then have to abide by the remainder of his original 10-year probation period and will likely have to wear tracking devices, Wilson said.

Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury. The teen’s father was said to be cooperating with investigators.

Ethan Couch, teen on probation in deadly 'affluenza' DUI, caught in Mexico


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