'Affluenza' Teen Remains in Mexico, Mom Deported to US, Official Says

Ethan Couch's mom returned to the U.S. on Wednesday

December 30, 2015, 9:27 PM

— -- The mother of "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch -- wanted for an alleged probation violation in a drunk driving case -- was deported to the United States Wednesday while her son was allowed to temporarily remain in Mexico.

Ethan Couch has been granted a three-day stay in his deportation case, which will now go before a judge who could potentially take longer to make a decision, according to the government official. It was not clear how long that would take.

On Wednesday night a Mexican immigration official said Couch was being transferred to Mexico City from Guadalajara to follow up on the injunction.

"We do not know if the Mexicans have the highest priority on this case like we do here in America. It's on their time schedule, we've seen these things happen as quickly as two weeks to two months," Richard Hunter, of the U.S. Marshals, said at a press conference this afternoon.

His mother, Tonya Couch, was sent back to the United States because immigration authorities did not receive a similar injunction for her, according to an official at Mexico's National Immigration Institute.

Tonya Couch, the mother of Texas teenager Ethan Couch, who is serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an "affluenza" defense.
This undated photo provided by the Jalisco state prosecutor?s office shows Tonya Couch. Authorities said Texas teenager Ethan Couch, who's serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an "affluenza" defense, was in custody in Mexico, weeks after he and his mother, Tonya Couch, disappeared.
Jalisco State Prosecutor?s Office, via AP Photo

Ethan, 18, and his mother were arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Monday Dec. 28 after the U.S. Marshals and other American law enforcement agencies had been searching for them for just under two weeks.

Scott Brown and Wm. Reagan Wynn, attorneys in Texas, released a statement today saying that, since they are not licensed to practice law in Mexico, they assisted the Couch family in finding counsel for him in Mexico to ensure that he is treated fairly in accordance with Mexican law.

"We believe that, until the Mexican Federal Judge enters an appropriate order authorizing it, Ethan will not be returned to the United States," they said. "We are uncertain how long the legal process in Mexico will take or how it will ultimately be resolved."

Texas' Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson had told "Good Morning America" today that they expected both Ethan and Tonya Couch to be back in Texas "within the next 24 to 48 hours, hopefully" but he later tweeted about some ongoing legal wrangling.

The teen was being sought after missing a mandated probation check-in with Texas authorities earlier this month. During his 2013 trial on drunken-driving charges, a defense witness testified that Ethan was afflicted with so-called "affluenza,” meaning his irresponsible behavior and lifestyle were a product of his affluent upbringing and "profoundly dysfunctional" parents.

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