Tanya Couch, mother of the “Affluenza Teen” who killed four people while driving drunk, has been brought back to the U.S. to face charges after helping her son, Ethan Couch, to flee the country after video surfaced showing the teenager violating the terms of his probation. Ethan Couch remains in Mexico, following a judge’s approval of his request to delay extradition.
Following the release of a video showing Ethan Couch at a party with drugs and alcohol, which is a clear violation of his probation, the mother and son pair fled the country — and even threw a going away party before leaving.
They were caught less than two weeks after a warrant was issued for Ethan’s arrest when he failed to check in with his probation officer. U.S. Marshalls were able to track them down when they used one of their cell phones to order a pizza to their condo in Puerto Vallarta.
Once in the custody of Mexican immigration authorities, both the Couches retained counsel and filed a writ of amparo, which is similar to a writ of habeas corpus. Tanya was flown into Los Angeles, arrested and is now on her way to Texas, where she will face charges of hindering apprehension. If convicted, Tanya could face two to ten years in prison.
Tanya’s bond has been set at $1 million. It is not yet known when she will arrive in Tarrant County, but it could be until Friday before she is back in Texas.
Currently, it is not clear when Ethan Couch will be returned to the U.S. According to Mexican officials, he has now been transferred to a detention facility in Mexico City.
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson says the Couches attempt to delay justice comes as no surprise to him.
They have done everything that they can so far to avoid being accountable, or avoid being brought to justice,” said Anderson. “Any roadblock they can put in the way, any hurdle, I fully expect that.”
According to Anderson, when Ethan is finally brought back to Tarrant County, he will appear at a detention hearing in the juvenile justice system, and then it will be up to the judge to decide whether to keep him in a juvenile detention facility or send him to adult jail.
During Ethan’s trial for the murder of four people in a drunk-driving accident, a psychologist testified that Ethan suffered from “affluenza,” and, as a result of being a rich spoiled brat, he was unable to understand right from wrong or fully grasp the consequences of his actions.
When Ethan was sentenced to only 10 years of probation for four counts of intoxication manslaughter as a result of his “affluenza” defense, there was widespread public outrage. “Affluenza” is not recognized as a valid mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.
Ethan, who was 16 at the time, killed a stranded motorist and three people who had stopped to help her on the side of the road, when he wrecked into them with his pickup truck while speeding. His blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.
Featured image via NY Daily News
April has studied political science, psychology, and philosophy. Back in the good old days she was a reporter for “old fashioned” print newspapers. In addition to news and politics, she also blogs about service dogs and disability advocacy. As a black woman with a disability, she is fed up with the right-wingers who would prefer that she and others like her didn’t exist.