The Latest: 'Affluenza' teen's mom arrives in US from Mexico
The Associated Press
Dec. 31, 2015
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest in the case of a Texas teenager serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an "affluenza" defense (all times local):
The mother of teen U.S. fugitive Ethan Couch has been returned to the United States without her son after her deportation from Mexico.
Tonya Couch was in handcuffs in the custody of U.S. Marshals when she was brought through Los Angeles International Airport early Thursday after a flight from Mexico.
She looked away from cameras as she was taken to an unmarked car and driven away.
It was unclear why she was brought to Los Angeles instead of Texas, where she and her son live and where he was on probation for a 2013 drunken-driving crash. A U.S. Marshals spokesman said he could not reveal any details about her trip through California, citing security concerns in transporting someone in custody.
Her son remains in Mexico in an immigration facility because a judge issued an injunction temporarily blocking his deportation.
Authorities say the 18-year-old Ethan Couch, who used "affluenza" as a defense in the fatal drunken-driving wreck, fled with his mother to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as prosecutors investigated whether he had violated his probation. Both were detained Monday.
A Mexican immigration official says U.S. fugitive Ethan Couch is being transported from Guadalajara to larger immigration facilities in Mexico City.
The official with Mexico's National Immigration Institute tells The Associated Press that the teen will be held in the nation's capital during a judge's temporary injunction that has delayed his deportation to the U.S.
The official was not authorized to speak about the case and agreed to reveal the information only if not quoted by name.
The official says the decision to move Couch was made because the Mexico City facility is larger and better equipped to hold someone for days or weeks.
The official isn't saying whether Couch is being transported by air or ground.
—Associated Press writer E. Eduardo Castillo contributed to this item.
A Mexican official says the mother of young U.S. fugitive Ethan Couch has been deported to the United States.
The National Immigration Institute official says Tonya Couch left late Wednesday afternoon on a flight from Guadalajara, Mexico, to Los Angeles. The person was not authorized to discuss the case and revealed the information on condition of anonymity.
The official says she was sent home because immigration authorities did not receive a judge's injunction like the one that temporarily blocked the deportation of her son. For now he will remain in custody in Guadalajara.
Authorities say the 18-year-old Couch, who used "affluenza" as a defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck in Texas in 2013, fled with his mother to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as prosecutors investigated whether he had violated his probation. Both were detained Monday.
The U.S. Marshals Service says it's doubtful that either Ethan Couch or his mother will return to the U.S. any time soon after a Mexican judge granted an injunction blocking his deportation from Mexico.
Richard Hunter, chief deputy U.S. marshal for the southern district of Texas, said Wednesday in Houston that the Mexican court's three-day injunction will likely take at least two weeks to resolve.
Hunter says Couch's mother, Tonya, also won't be deported Wednesday as originally planned. He didn't say whether an injunction had been granted for her.
Authorities say the 18-year-old Couch, who used "affluenza" as a defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck in Texas in 2013, fled with his mother to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as prosecutors investigated whether he had violated his probation.
The Couches were detained Monday. Both had been scheduled to fly back to Houston on Wednesday.
Lawyers for Ethan Couch won a delay in his deportation based on a constitutional appeal in Mexico that could lead to a weekslong legal process.
Known as an "amparo," or protection, such appeals try to block a government action. In this case, Couch's attorneys are asking a judge to prevent authorities from deporting him or holding him without contact with lawyers, family members or visitors.
Authorities say the 18-year-old Couch, who used "affluenza" as a defense in a deadly drunken driving wreck in Texas, fled to Mexico with his mother after he may have violated his probation.
A federal judge has three days to rule on whether Couch's appeal is well-founded. If the judge rules in Couch's favor, there could be a trial process in Mexico that can last for weeks or even months.
Such appeals are unique in Mexico because they are precautionary. In this case, authorities would be prevented from moving forward with Couch's deportation until the issue of whether deportation would violate his rights is resolved.
An official in Mexico says a teen fugitive from Texas known for using an "affluenza" defense has been granted a three-day delay in deportation.
An official with Mexico's Migration Institute told Associated Press reporter E. Eduardo Castillo on Wednesday that 18-year-old Ethan Couch won a three-day court injunction.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he or she wasn't authorized to be quoted by name.
Couch and his mother were scheduled to be sent back to the U.S. on Wednesday. It wasn't immediately clear if his mother, Tonya Couch, also would be granted a delay.
Both had been scheduled to fly back to Houston after authorities said a phone call for pizza led to their capture in the Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta. They were being held at immigration offices in Guadalajara.
Couch's attorneys did not immediately return calls for comment.
Mexican police say the fugitive "affluenza" teenager and his mother spent three days in a rented condo at a resort development in Puerto Vallarta before finding an apartment in a less glitzy area where they were found by police.
A police report says 18-year-old Ethan Couch and his mother stayed at the Los Tules resort from Dec. 20 to Dec. 23, but were asked to leave because the condo's owner was coming in for Christmas.
While at the condo, they called out for a pizza, which tipped police off to their whereabouts. By the time police showed up on Dec. 28, the mother and son were gone.
But one of the condo's employees found them an apartment in Puerto Vallarta's less glitzy center. She told them where Couch and his mother were staying, and Mexican detectives located the apartment and staked it out.
The police report says that when the two appeared on the street, detectives approached them and asked them their names, and that the Couches showed an "evasive attitude."
The report says mother and son were, "confusing about their names and mentioned they had no identification and no immigration documents."
Authorities say a teen fugitive known for using an "affluenza" defense and his mother are scheduled to depart for the U.S. after a phone call for pizza led to their capture in Mexico.
Eighteen-year-old Ethan Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, were being held at immigration offices in Guadalajara on Tuesday. An immigration official who is not allowed to be quoted by name told The Associated Press they were to be returned to the United States aboard a commercial flight to Houston Wednesday.
Couch was on juvenile probation after killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck.
Authorities began searching for the pair after Ethan Couch missed a mandatory appointment with his probation officer on Dec. 10.
Once returned to Texas, Couch will be held in a North Texas facility until a probation violation hearing Jan. 19.
Tonya Couch faces a two- to 10-year sentence if convicted of hindering apprehension.
Associated Press writers Elizabeth Rivera, Emily Schmall, E. Eduardo Castillo, Peter Orsi and Mark Stevenson contributed.