Affluenza teen tracked to Mexico

December 31, 2015 6:48 am

Young wealthy Texan who killed four people whisked out of the country by his pampering mother.

 Couch was sentenced to a drug- and alcohol-free probation but disappeared this month, along with his mother, Tonya. Photo / AP

Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager who prompted an international search
after he vanished earlier this month, appeared set to return to the
after his capture on Tuesday in a Mexican resort city.
Couch, 18, made national headlines after a 2013 drunken-driving incident that left four people dead.
psychologist testified for his defence, saying that the teen, from a
wealthy Dallas area family, suffered from “affluenza”, which contributed
to his reckless decisions.
Couch was sentenced to a drug- and alcohol-free probation but disappeared this month, along with his mother, Tonya.
search for the pair ended this week in Puerto Vallarta, a city of
beaches and lavish resorts on ’s Pacific Coast, officials said at a
conference in Texas yesterday.
“As I said early on, there
was a strong feeling, on many people’s part, mine particularly, that
they had fled the country once we found out they were missing,” Tarrant
County Sheriff Dee Anderson told reporters.

“Obviously, it was proven correct.”
Anderson said
investigators learned of “something that was almost akin to a going-away
party”. “Which, to , meant that what we suspected had happened. That
it was carefully planned and timed to get out of the country.”
failed to turn up for a routine probation meeting on December 10,
according to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, and when an
officer went to check on him, he was nowhere to be found.
Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest the following day.
exact travel plans for mother and son remained somewhat unclear. US
Marshal Rick Taylor said the duo would be treated as “undesirable” and
would probably be expelled. “We still don’t have a lot of details yet
about his return, as well as the mother. We’re still working through
that with the Mexican Government.”
The search reignited
discussion of the teen’s light sentence two years ago. In December 2013,
Couch pleaded guilty in juvenile court to manslaughter and assault
while intoxicated.
He had valium and a high level of alcohol in
his blood and was speeding down a road on the outskirts of Fort Worth
when he careened into a group of people fixing a broken-down car.
Although prosecutors pushed for a 20-year prison term, Couch was sentenced to 10 years of probation and no jail time.
the trial, psychologist G. Dick Miller attributed Couch’s reckless
behaviour to “affluenza”, saying that Couch had an unhealthy
relationship with his millionaire parents, who didn’t teach him that
dangerous actions have consequences.
Instead, he “was taught we have the gold, we make the rules at the Couch household”, Miller testified in court.
during a hearing in February 2014, State District Judge Jean Boyd, who
issued the sentence, told families involved that her decision had
nothing to do with the “affluenza” argument, according to the Fort Worth
She said Couch, not his parents, was responsible for what happened.
the mother and son return to the United States, officials will push to
transfer his case from the juvenile system to the adult courts, Tarrant
County District Attorney Sharen Wilson told reporters.
Tonya Couch is expected to be charged with hindering apprehension, Wilson said.
“I think that she deserves to be incarcerated,” Wilson said.

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