'Affluenza' teen's mom is released from jail after making bond

By Amy R. Connolly and Shawn Price   |   Updated Jan. 13, 2016 at 4:05 AM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Tonya Couch, mother of so-called "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch, was released from jail Tuesday after her bond was reduced from $1 million to $75,000 for allegedly helping her son flee the country.

Couch, 48, must wear a monitoring bracelet on her ankle while she awaits further court proceedings, Tarrant County, Texas, Sheriff Dee Anderson said in a tweet. Her release comes a day after a judge shrank her bail.

Couch is accused of helping her son flee after the release of a video purporting to show him at a party watching a beer drinking game, possibly a violation of his parole for killing four people in a 2013 drunk driving crash. She and her son were found in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Dec. 28 after a two-week search.

At her hearing Monday, her attorney's argued the original $1 million was too high for a charge of hindering the apprehension of a felon. While released on bond, she is required to follow a set of rules in addition to the ankle bracelet:

-- Report to authorities on a weekly basis

-- Live in Tarrant County with her 29-year-old son and his family

-- Abstain from using controlled substances or alcohol, and submit to drug testing

-- Be placed under 24-hour home confinement, but she is allowed visits by lawyers and doctors

-- Pay a monthly $60 supervision fee

Ethan Couch, 18, remains in a migrant detention center near Mexico City, where he is fighting extradition to the United States.

Meanwhile, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has called for Ethan Couch's case to be moved from juvenile to adult court during his transfer hearing scheduled for Jan. 19. The advocacy group launched a petition signed by more than 25,000 people as of Tuesday morning.

"Couch has been found, and everything possible must be done to hold him accountable and to ensure that Couch has no more victims," said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. "Couch is not a child. His actions are not that of a child. Four people were killed and several injured, and Couch continues to show no remorse and blatant disregard for the law."

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