'Affluenza' teen's mom waives extradition, awaits return to Texas to face charges

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 6, 2016 at 5:32 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The mother of the so-called "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch will be returned to Texas in the coming days to face felony charges for allegedly helping her son flee the United States.

Tonya Couch, in a brief appearance in a Los Angeles court, acknowledged she is Ethan Couch's mother and waived her right to fight extradition orders Tuesday. A judge remanded her to the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department without bail as she awaits Texas authorities for her return.

Couch, 48, is accused of helping her son flee the country after a Twitter video allegedly showed him at a party watching people playing a beer-drinking game, a violation of his parole. Her attorneys said she has not broken the law.

In 2013, Couch, 16 at the time, killed four people in a drunk driving crash. Defense attorneys said he was the victim of "affluenza" because he was spoiled by his wealthy parents and never faced any consequences for his actions, growing up with a sense of entitlement and poor judgement. He received 10 years probation in the juvenile justice system, a sentence that has been criticized as too lenient.

In early December, Ethan Couch missed a meeting with his parole officer, prompting an international search. The mother and son were arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Dec. 28 after a two-week search.

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

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