Texas 'affluenza' teen to be returned to US from Mexico after capture

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'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Apprehended in Mexico

FORT WORTH, Texas/MEXICO CITY -- A wealthy Texas teen who had been a fugitive after breaking his probation sentence for killing four people while driving drunk, will be returned to the United States after being caught in Mexico, Mexican authorities said on Tuesday.

Ethan Couch, 18, and his mother, Tonya Couch, were taken into custody on Monday evening in the Pacific Ocean resort of Puerto Vallarta, the Jalisco State Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City declined to comment for privacy reasons, saying only that they would provide any necessary consular assistance.

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Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said that when the Couches arrive back in the United States, the young man will appear in juvenile court and his mother will be arrested.

The sheriff told a news conference that the two had had a going-away party before leaving the United States.

Ethan Couch's attorney, Reagan Wynn, said in a statement that he has not had the chance to speak with his client and does not expect to be able to until Couch is back in the United States. "Until we have more information concerning this situation, it would not be prudent for us to make any further public statement," he said.

Couch became known in the United States as the "affluenza" teen during his trial in juvenile court over the 2013 deaths, when a psychologist said he was so wealthy and spoiled he could not tell the difference between right and wrong.

He has been serving 10 years probation for intoxication manslaughter, a sentence critics saw as far too light.

Couch and his 48-year-old mother disappeared earlier this month, prompting officials in Tarrant County, Texas, to issue a warrant for his arrest.

The two were captured at the crossing of two streets near the popular Malecon, or boardwalk, in Puerto Vallarta. A police booking picture from Mexico showed the previously blond Ethan Couch with dark hair.

See images of Couch's case:

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Texas 'affluenza' teen to be returned to US from Mexico after capture
This Dec. 28, 2015 photo released by Mexico's Jalisco state prosecutorís office shows who authorities identify as Ethan Couch, after he was taken into custody in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. U.S. authorities said the Texas teenager serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an "affluenza" defense, was in custody in Mexico, weeks after he and his mother disappeared. (Mexico's Jalisco state prosecutorís office via AP)
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, shows Ethan Couch. The U.S. Marshals Service have joined the search for Couch, a teenager who was serving probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck after invoking the "affluenza" defense, an argument that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. (U.S. Marshals Service via AP)
This frame grab taken from a Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 video provided by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Migracion, INM, shows Ethan Couch, escorted onto a plane by Mexican immigration agents, in Mexico City. INM says it has taken the Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident to the Mexico City airport, to fly him back to Texas to face charges. Couch was placed on a commercial flight to Dallas, Texas. (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM via AP)
This frame grab taken from a Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 video provided by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Migracion, INM, shows Ethan Couch, as he is escorted by Mexican immigration agents, upon their arrival to the international airport in Mexico City. INM says it has taken the Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident to the Mexico City airport, to fly him back to Texas to face charges. The institute said Thursday that Couch would be placed on a commercial flight to Dallas, Texas. (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM via AP)
This undated wanted poster photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, shows Ethan Couch. The U.S. Marshals Service have joined the search for Couch, a teenager who was serving probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck after invoking a defense that he suffered from "affluenza." (U.S. Marshals Service via AP)
Lucas McConnell, 13, right wipes tears from his eyes after speaking to reporters with his attorney Todd Clement, left, by his side Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Burleson, Texas. The family of Lucas McConnell, injured by a drunken teen driver whose attorneys later claimed he suffered from "affluenza," plans to continue its lawsuit against the driver. While most families who sued Ethan Couch over a wreck that left four dead have settled, the McConnell's will continue fighting Couch in court. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Attorney Todd Clement, second from left, speaks during new conference with his client Lucas McConnell, 13, center right, Alesia McConnell, left, and Kevin McConnell look on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Burleson, Texas. The family of Lucas McConnell, injured by a drunken teen driver whose attorneys later claimed he suffered from "affluenza," plans to continue its lawsuit against the driver. While most families who sued Ethan Couch over a wreck that left four dead have settled, the McConnell's will continue fighting Couch in court. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
FILE - In this December 2013 image taken from a video by KDFW-FOX 4, Ethan Couch is seen during his court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas. The family of Couch, who killed four people in a drunken wreck, have reached a settlement of more than $2 million with the family of a teenage boy left disabled. Tarrant County court documents filed Friday show that the liability insurer of Ethan Couchâs parents agreed to pay $1.64 million in cash to a trust established for Sergio E. Molina. (AP Photo/KDFW-FOX 4, File)
Ethan Couch, center, sits in juvenile court for a hearing about his future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Ethan Couch, center, sits in juvenile court for a hearing about his future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Tonya Couch, left, and Fred Couch, parents of teenager Ethan Couch, arrive at juvenile court for a hearing about their son's future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Tonya Couch, left, and Fred Couch, parents of teenager Ethan Couch, arrive at juvenile court for a hearing about their son's future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Fred Couch, father of teenager Ethan Couch, collects his belt after clearing security as he arrives at juvenile court for a hearing about his son's future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. A judge on Wednesday ordered Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, defense attorney Reagan Wynn and prosecutors told reporters after the hearing, which was closed to the public. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Mexican authorities said they had been working with the U.S. Marshals Service since Saturday to locate Couch and his mother.

Police handed the pair over to Mexican immigration authorities for being in the country without the proper permission so they could be returned to the United States, the Jalisco attorney general's office said.

Couch, then 16, 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 people who had stopped to help.

Several passengers riding in Couch's vehicle were hurt, including one friend who was permanently brain damaged.

Tarrant County began investigating this month after a video on Twitter appeared to show the teen among a group around a table littered with plastic cups and cans of beer in a game of beer pong. That would have been a violation of his probation, the Tarrant County District Attorney's office previously said.

Tarrant County Sheriff Anderson said last week it was possible Couch and his mother had fled the country. He said the home they shared had been cleared of its contents.

Their passports had been reported missing by the teen's father, who has cooperated with investigators.

U.S. Marshals had offered a $5,000 reward in exchange for his whereabouts.

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