On Tuesday, one of the stranger American legal dramas in recent memory came one step closer to its resolution, with notorious "affluenza teen" Ethan Couch being detained in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Couch killed four people in 2013 in a drunk driving accident in Texas, but was given 10 years' probation and no jail time in light of his privileged, ostensibly morality-distorting upbringing. He then became a high-profile fugitive after leaving the United States for Mexico. Now, you get to see how he's looking — the Ethan Couch mugshot has been released, in addition to some complicating, interesting new details from the authorities.
Couch disappeared in early December, after video emerged on him allegedly playing beer pong at a party, which would be a violation of the terms of his probation — as The Dallas Morning News detailed, he was prohibited from driving, drinking, or using illicit drugs of any kind.
His mother Tonya also vanished, fueling suspicions that she'd aided her son in fleeing the country. At this point, what precisely led the mother-and-son duo to Puerto Vallarta will be for a jury to decide, but she might pay the price too. The Tarrant County Sheriff's office has also alleged that Couch and his mother threw a departure party before fleeing the country, and according to the AP, a warrant will be issued for her arrest.
Well, there you have it! Behold his pale, hair-dyed, disheveled visage. Couch evidently decided to dye his hair dark, possibly to conceal his appearance — during his 2013 trial, and in the beer pong video that exposed his probationary violation just under a month ago, he had light hair. Here's how Sheriff Dee Anderson described the manhunt, including the reveal that the pair had thrown a little going-away bash, as NPR detailed.
[Authorities] eventually got some intelligence information that they probably drove [a pickup truck] to the border and crossed over the border and were perhaps still in that truck. Continued to gather information both locally and away and learned through some interviews that what we suspected all along had happened, that they had planned to disappear, that they even had something that was almost akin to a going-away party before they left town.
Suffice to say, this isn't a great look for "ya boy" Ethan Couch, and it seems like a safe bet that the so-called affluenza defense he used last time around isn't going to fly again. The pair were reportedly discovered by Mexican authorities at a beach house in the resort town, a thriving beachside tourist magnet and party hot-spot along the Pacific coast.
Basically, for someone who allegedly fled the country because of their irresponsible (and ultimately lethal) partying habits, the locale doesn't engender much goodwill, either. It seems like Couch has burned right through that shockingly generous second chance he got a couple years ago, and there's no reason to think he's going to get a third one.