Tonya Couch: Took $30K To Mexico
Published: January 10, 2016
Tonya Couch: Took $30K To Mexico, Before Tonya Couch and her son fled to Mexico, she withdrew $30,000 from her account and told her husband he’ll not see them again, an arrest affidavit stated.
Authorities accuse Couch of helping her son, Ethan, the so-called affluenza teen, leave the country to avoid a probation hearing that may have led to jail time for him.
Tonya Couch faces a charge of hindering the apprehension of a felon, and was arraigned Friday in Fort Worth. She did not enter a formal plea.
She arrived in Texas on Thursday after a Los Angeles judge approved her extradition over a week after Mexican authorities detained mother and son in a Pacific resort town.
The mother will plead not guilty, said Stephanie Patton, her attorney.
Before he went to Mexico, Ethan Couch was on probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunken driving accident when he was 16.
At the time, outrage followed when a judge sentenced him to probation instead of jail time. During the trial, his lawyers cited the now-notorious “affluenza” defense, suggesting he was too rich and spoiled to understand the consequences of his actions.
An affidavit released Friday gave more details on what set off a series of events that ended with his escape to Mexico.
It said that a video of Ethan Couch surfaced on December 2, and “scared” the teen because it allegedly showed him at a party where alcohol was consumed.
He had been ordered to stay away from drugs and alcohol for the duration of his probation.
A day after the video surfaced, the affidavit said, a probation officer attempted to reach Ethan Couch but he did not respond. That’s the same day his mother withdrew the money and called a man known as Fred Couch to tell him he would never see them again, the affidavit said. Texas media have identified the man as her husband.
It also stated that the phones belonging to the mother and son “were no longer active.”
In mid-December, a warrant was issued for Couch, who’s now 18, after his probation officer couldn’t reach him.
The mother and son were nowhere to be found.
They were arrested on December 28 in a residence near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Tonya Couch’s bond hearing will be held Monday morning. At that time, a judge will consider whether to reduce the bond amount, which was set at $1 million.
If she makes bond, Couch will face a series of restrictions, including wearing an ankle monitor.
Tonya Couch was booked into jail in Tarrant County, Texas, on Thursday.
Ethan Couch is still in Mexico and his return to the United States largely depends on whether he decides to contest his deportation.
Last week, a Mexican judge granted the teen a temporary stay halting deportation proceedings.
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