'Affluenza' Teen's Mom Arrives At LAX After Deportation From Mexico
The mother of "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch arrived in handcuffs at LAX overnight after she was deported from Mexico.
U.S. Marshals were seen escorting 38-year-old Tonya Couch through the airport, and she was then taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center, where she was booked at 1:37 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told City News Service. She will remain in the detention center until Tarrant County Sheriff's Department in Texas arrive in L.A. to take her back to Texas.
"When she arrives, the warrant we have for her for hindering the apprehension of Ethan will be served upon her and that's a felony here in Texas," Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson told CBS DFW. "And we will have to extradite her back to Texas and she will have to face those charges here."
If convicted, she could face between two to 10 years in jail, according to Texas prosecutors.
Her fugitive son, 18-year-old Ethan, who is known for using the "affluenza" defense in a deadly 2013 drunk-driving crash, is still in Mexico because a Mexican judge granted a temporary injunction that delayed his deportation to the United States, according to CBS News. There was a weeks-long manhunt for the mother and son when they went missing after Ethan didn't show up for a mandated probation check in Texas. Authorities found the Couches in Puerto Vallarta after tracking down a call from one of their phones to a Domino's Pizza.
On Wednesday night, Ethan was transferred from Guadalajara to Mexico City, a Mexican immigration official told ABC News. WFAA-TV tweeted out a video showing what they believe shows a van taking Ethan from the Guadalajara detention center:
It could take at least two weeks for the three-day court injunction to resolve, Richard Hunter, chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service in South Texas said in a press conference in Houston on Wednesday.
According to ABC News:
Scott Brown and Wm. Reagan Wynn, attorneys in Texas, released a statement Wednesday saying that because they are not licensed to practice law in Mexico, they assisted the Couch family in finding counsel for Ethan in Mexico to ensure that he is treated fairly, in accordance with Mexican law.
"We believe that, until the Mexican Federal Judge enters an appropriate order authorizing it, Ethan will not be returned to the United States," they said. "We are uncertain how long the legal process in Mexico will take or how it will ultimately be resolved."
In June 2013, Ethan was drunk-driving and speeding in Fort Worth, Texas when he crashed into a disabled SUV, killing four and injuring several others. He pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury. During his trial, a psychologist said Ethan suffered from "affluenza," an affliction that was caused by having wealthy parents who didn't set boundaries for him. There was public outrage when a judge decided to sentence Ethan to probation and rehab instead of jail time.