Ethan Couch has been quite busy this holiday season. After killing four people while driving drunk in 2013 and getting off nearly scot-free due to an apparent affliction of "affluenza," the teenager has spent the majority of December on the run from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service after violating the terms of his probation. Though he was caught in Mexico Monday after an international manhunt, Couch did not pull his disappearing act alone, but allegedly with the help of his mother. They say that mothers will do just about anything for the love of their children. So just who is Ethan Couch's mom?
Ethan and Tonya Couch have been split up. Tonya was reportedly deported back to the United States Wednesday, while Ethan was granted a judge's injunction that will temporarily block him from the same fate. Despite Couch's previous, notorious run-in with the law, his mother actually faces a much heavier sentence if convicted — two to 10 years in jail, as opposed to his maximum of 120 days. Although the teen's stint in Mexico is in violation of his probation, the mother will face the higher charge of hindering the apprehension of a minor.
They say that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as Tonya is also not unfamiliar with this side of the law. In 2003, she was convicted of reckless driving and forcing another motorist off the road. She was fined $500 and was required to complete six months of community service. Ethan's father, Fred Couch, was also convicted of writing bad checks and impersonating a police officer.
Tarrant County officials claim that before disappearing earlier this month, Tonya even held a going-away party for Ethan and his friends. Although she was scheduled to take him to a meeting with his probation officer, the mother and son reportedly held the party before driving themselves across Texas and through the Mexico border together.
Though Ethan's sentence might turn out to be light, an attorney for some of the victims say they might find relief if his mother is convicted. Todd Clement, an attorney who represented a man whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash, said of Tonya's charges:
There is some satisfaction that Tonya Couch will be held accountable indirectly for this finally. Everybody has said that Ethan is the product of very bad parenting. It appears that at least one of those parents is going to be held criminally accountable for that.