Couch and his mother were turned over to Mexico’s immigration authorities because police couldn’t determine whether they were in the country legally, according to a statement from the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office.
New details are emerging about the time Ethan Couch – a teen who killed four people in a vehicle crash in 2013 – spent in Mexico on the run with his mother while USA authorities searched for him.
Sharen Wilson, the Tarrant County district attorney, said if the case remained in juvenile court, Couch could not be locked up past his 19th birthday, in April. “He is now an adult in the eyes of the state and I would like to see him put in an adult prison and serve out the remainder of his 10 year sentence”. The official, who is not authorized to be quoted by name, told Associated Press reporter E. Eduardo Castillo that there are no seats available on commercial flights to allow a Tuesday return.
Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled the country after a video surfaced online apparently showing Couch at a party where beer was being consumed.
Ethan Couch, with his newly-dyed hair after being captured in Mexico. The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread ridicule. “The problem with it was, as you can imagine, Puerto Vallarta at Christmas time, a tremendous amount of tourists down there, so American people were prevalent everywhere, it wouldn’t be somewhere they were going to stick out”, he said.
After the pair’s capture Monday in the Pacific resort town of Puerto Vallarta, prosecutors said Tuesday they are unsure of the extent to which they may be punished – owing to the complexities of the juvenile and adult court systems in Texas that officials now find themselves navigating.
About 11:15 p.m., Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said she could confirm that they were in the custody of Mexican officials.
They were handed over to the National Migration Institute after they “could not prove their legal status in Mexico“, the office said.
Couch was driving drunk and speeding on a road south of Fort Worth in June 2013 when he crashed into a disabled SUV off to the side, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in his pickup truck.
Investigators received information from people who know the Couches and “dozens and dozens of calls of sightings” of them or their pickup truck, he said.
“Still, he was given the benefit of the doubt, as a sheriff’s spokesman in Tarrant County, said, “[Cases] are not prosecuted or revoked or modified based on hearsay or based on a grainy video that we can’t identify someone in.” If Couch had been found to be drinking, the terms of his probation could have been revoked and he could have faced up to 10 years in prison.
It was discovered in early December that Ethan had skipped out on a meeting with his probation officer. Wilson said she wants to move Couch’s case to adult court, where the punishment could be more severe. If he continues to be treated as a juvenile, the longest sentence he could receive is four months in confinement.
Ethan Couch, subject of a U.S. Marshals warrant, was tracked down Monday near Puerto Vallarta.
She said her office will push for Couch to be transferred to the adult probation system, where he would remain under supervision until February of 2024.
As for Tonya Couch, Wilson said she deserves to be incarcerated, and she will push for 10 times the normal bail amount of $15,000.
Couch has been serving 10 years drug-and-alcohol-free probation for intoxication manslaughter – a sentence that sparked outrage among critics who said he had been lightly punished because of his privilege.
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