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Texas 'Affluenza' Teen Delays Extradition, Mother Deported from Mexico

Image: Texas 'Affluenza' Teen Delays Extradition, Mother Deported from Mexico

Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 12:04 PM

The mother of a Texas teenager, scorned for his "affluenza" defense in a deadly car crash, was deported from Mexico on Wednesday while her son won a delay in his extradition, a Mexican official said. 

Ethan Couch, 18, and his mother, Tonya Couch, 48, were captured in the Mexican Pacific Coast city of Puerto Vallarta on Monday. They fled there after officials in Tarrant County, Texas launched a probe into whether Ethan violated the terms of a probation deal that kept him out of prison after he killed four people with his pickup truck in 2013 while driving drunk.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Mexican official said Tonya Couch was placed on a flight to Los Angeles because there were no more flights available to Texas. In Los Angeles, she would be in the hands of the U.S. Marshals Service, the official said.

Authorities in Texas have issued a warrant for Tonya Couch's arrest for hindering apprehension. If convicted, she could face two to 10 years in prison, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Marshals Service said she could not comment on prisoner movements.

Ricardo Vera, a Mexican migration official in Jalisco state, said earlier in the day the pair had filed an injunction to delay their extradition and a judge in Mexico would have up to 72 hours to consider the injunction.

Sheriff Anderson said he was not surprised by the pair seeking to delay their return.

"They (the Couches) have done everything that they can so far to avoid being accountable, or avoid being brought to justice. Any roadblock they can put in the way, any hurdle, I fully expect that," Anderson said in an interview.

Anderson said that when Ethan Couch does arrive back in the United States, he would appear at a detention hearing in the juvenile system. The judge could keep him in a juvenile detention facility or send him to an adult jail, he said.

During Ethan Couch's trial in juvenile court over a 2013 drunk driving crash that killed four people, a psychologist testified on his behalf that he was afflicted with "affluenza," and that he was so spoiled by his wealth that he could not tell the difference between right and wrong.

The diagnosis is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and was has been widely ridiculed.

Couch was convicted on four counts of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years of drink and drug-free probation, which critics saw as leniency because of his family's wealth. His flight to Mexico rekindled anger over that sentence.


© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Mexico has delayed the extradition of an affluent Texan teenager and his mother, who fled there in likely violation of a probation deal that kept the youth out of prison for a fatal drunken-driving crash.
Mexico, Texas, extradition, affluenza teen
Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 12:04 PM
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