-- The mother-son duo who allegedly fled from Texas to Mexico had a gun with them while staying at a resort in Puerto Vallarta, two hotel employees told ABC News.
The Couches arrived at the Los Tules Resort late on Dec. 19 in a black pick-up truck with a big dog, the hotel employees said.
They paid for the room in cash and said they would just stay for a night, the workers said, requesting anonymity for fear of being fired.
The Couches decided the next day to stay longer, according to the employees. Ethan registered with his name, using his home state of Texas and signing. The employees provided ABC News with a photo of the hotel registration form that they say Ethan signed, but there is no clear explanation for why his name appears to be misspelled. The photo shows his name spelled 'Edthan.'
Because they wanted to extend their stay and the hotel needed their ground-floor room for a disabled woman, the hotel employees say, they moved the Couches to another room.
The new guests found a gun inside the nightstand, the employees say. They immediately called the hotel and an employee picked up the gun and wrapped it inside a bathroom carpet and put it in a plastic bag, the employees say.
An official with the Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to ABC News they received a photo of the gun found at the hotel from a hotel employee.
The following day, according to the hotel workers, Ethan retrieved the gun after being asked whether he had left anything in the room. He took the gun without giving any explanation, the employees said.
On Dec. 24, the sources say, a cleaning lady tried all day to get into their second room but no one answered and the "Do Not Enter" sign was on. A hotel manager entered the room later in the day and realized the Couches had left without a word.
One of the hotel employees said Ethan was blonde while in Los Tules, but when he was apprehended Monday Dec. 28, his hair and goatee appear to have been dyed black. The employee said his mother was always wearing shorts and both Ethan and Tonya Couch were described as discreet people.
Ethan, 18, and his mother were apprehended in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Monday after the U.S. Marshals Service and other American law enforcement agencies had been searching for them for nearly two weeks.
His mother, 48-year-old 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. She is now being held at a detention center in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
"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."