‘Affluenza’ Texas teen Ethan Couch detained in Mexico
A Texas teen from a wealthy family, a fugitive after breaking his probation sentence for killing four people while driving drunk, has been taken into custody in Mexico, a law enforcement official said on Monday.
Ethan Couch, 18, nicknamed the “affluenza” teen, was serving 10 years probation for intoxication manslaughter in the 2013 incident.
He and his mother, Tonya Couch, 48, disappeared this month, prompting officials in Tarrant County, Texas, to place the teen on the county’s most wanted list and issue a warrant for his apprehension.
Couch became known as the “affluenza” teen during his trial in juvenile court, when a psychologist said he was so wealthy and spoiled he could not tell the difference between right and wrong.
A Tarrant County law enforcement official confirmed on Monday that Couch had been detained in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but declined to give further details.
CNN, citing officials briefed on the matter, said Couch was with his mother and would be turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Mexico’s attorney general’s office did not respond immediately to calls seeking information.
At age 16, Couch was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit when he lost control of his pickup truck and fatally struck a stranded motorist on the side of the road and three Good Samaritans who had stopped to help.
Several passengers riding in Couch’s vehicle were hurt, including one friend who was permanently brain damaged.
Sheriff Dee Anderson said last week it was possible Couch and his mother had fled the country and the home they shared had been cleared of its contents. Their passports had been reported missing by the teen’s father, who has been cooperating with investigators.
Police were checking reports that Couch may have left the United States, after a video came out showing him at a party, in a likely violation of his probation.
U.S. Marshals were offering a $5,000 reward in exchange for his whereabouts.
(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago and Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles and David Alire Garcia in Mexico City; Editing by Nick Macfie, Robert Birsel)