Transcript for Arrest Warrant Issued for Missing 'Affluenza' Teen
The search is on for a rich and privileged teenager whose controversial affluenza defense set off a national firestorm. His lawyers able to keep him out of jail after killing four people in a drunk driving accident. But authorities say he's gone missing. After failing to check in with his probation officer. Here's ABC's Matt Gutman. Four, five kids laying in ditch and the the street when. Reporter: If the crime was outrageous when. Oh lord, yes, there's another child in the ditch, oh oh my god. Reporter: So said the pundits was the defense. Affluenza. A funds? Influenza affluenza? Too rich for jail. The lawyer told the judge he was so rich he didn't know right from wrong. Reporter: It seemed to work. Facing up to 20 years in prison for killing four in a drunk car crash, then 16-year-old Ethan couch, 10 years probation and time in rehab. Now almost 2 two years later he's on the run failing to check in with his probation officer earlier this month, police police have issued the equivalent of a warrant for his arrest. If he's still here we'll get him. My fear is he's long gone. Reporter: His disappearance coming after this undated video surfaced. Is that him allegedly enjoying a night of peer onbeer beer pong? Once the video came out they felt a probation violation could be coming. Reporter: The video retweeted by Hannah hard why to the da's office writing, your boy Ethan couch violating probation, I got more if you want. To be a violation of probation they'd they'd need evidence he was actually drinking. T just at a party where other people were drinking. Reporter: It all started on the night of June 15th, 2013. His blood alcohol alcohol level 3 times the legal limit when he got behind the wheel of his father's souped-up red pickup truck after a night of partying. Gun to'ing to 70 miles an hour he loss control and swerved 92 a ditch, plowing 92 a group of people, bodies scattered hundreds of feet. 15-year-old Luke cat Cass Mcconnell survived. Do you remember the sound of metal crunching, of glass waelg breaking? Glass breaking. Tires screeching. The car we were in got hit, we got shot across the road, we nailed the tree. The back window was completely shattered. A lot of that glass was in the back of our heads. Reporter: Lucas' father Kevin approximatelied pulled up to the crash seen moments later. It was 88 chaos. There were people lying a round injured, hurt, dead. People yelling, screaming, help me. Reporter: The teen behind the behind the wheel wau walked a way from that mangled truck. Once Ethan couch, the story came together quickly. Reporter: It wasn't yous just alcohol? His sell system. There were traces of. Thc, valium, and other drugs which according to our tox on thes were bad enough on their own but you combine those with alcohol, just a recipe for dissass fer. Reporter: Richard Alpert, assistant district attorney who came on the case a day after the crash. He says he charged Ethan with everything he could, including four counts of intoxication manslaughter. A.m. Alpert wanted the poor little rich kid to do wig boy big boy time. We were hoping for and asked for 20 years. Reporter: It was determined he'd be tried as a juvenile. When Ethan couch loped 92 court with his self why swagger from Facebook had been replaced with this will be Abbie Jennings, daughter of brine Jennings, couldn't believe it. They made him look really innocent for the trial. That's not who he was. Reporter: It turned out there would be no trial. Ethan couch admitted guilt and the proceedings moved directly to a sentencing hearing. And now we come to the key moment in this case. While recommending treatment over incarceration, Dr. Dick fill miller, prominent psychologist hired by the powerhouse defense team, dropped a curious term. Affluenza. Reporter: Which bows off goes off like a bomb. Affluenza. He talked about the fact that the reason for this crime was he was a child of privilege. And his parents didn't say no to him. When you heard it, what did you think? I smiled. Im, it was ridiculous. Reporter: And that may have been a factor in the judge sentencing Ethan to 10 years probation and time in a rehab facility. Four dead, 9 injured, not a single day behind bars. Five of the families involved in the fatal crash brought civil lawsuits. The kuchs settled those suits without admitting any wrongdoing but not before depositions were taken in 1 has case. And for the first time the boy and his parents at the center of this story were forced to speak. Tell us your name, please, sir. Ethan couch. Reporter: It fell to lawyers to extract the poor peculiar family history that shaped young Ethan's wife life. Taken valium, hydrocodone, marijuana, cocaine, xanax, viyvanse, tried ecstasy once. Pretty sure sure that was it. Reporter: They say his parents let Ethan pass forward that a adult hood, a showing him toll in this 4,000 square foot ranch house, these pictures from the website zillo show a bet wet bar in the den, zipping pool out back. Letting him drive a car from the time he was 13 years old. You understood if he was at any time he was under 16 he was never to be driving by himself? Yes. Nevertheless, you a allowed that behavior to happen, correct? Yes. I kept asking because I wanted to. Eventually they started let letting me drive. Just to like the corner store. By myself. Reporter: Just four months before the fatal crash, 15-year-old Ethan was stopped by police at 1 o'clock A.M. Under the influence and relieving himself in a parking lot. His shoerth shows mother shows up, she knew he was out there. Did you ask him where he got the alcohol and vodka that was in the truck? No. I should have but I did not. Reporter: These attorneys say Ethan couch was violating as many as five laws that night. As a result of that incident, before the deadly crash, Ethan was required to complete an alcohol awareness course and 8 hours of community service within 90 days. Guess what. We didn't do the community service. You understood, did you not, that he was likely to continue the drinking and driving if there weren't consequences? If. I should have known that, yes. I really didn't think that that would happen again. Reporter: Ethan is questioned about the night of that deadly crash. Do you remember pulling out of the driveway? Not really. I love have like this picture in my head of just turning out of the driveway but that's it. What's the next thing you recall? Waking up handcuffed to the hospital bed. Reporter: After all of this, Ethan's father actually distances himself from the affluenza phrase. I don't even know thatible a I believe affluenza is real. Reporter: Ethan's parents branded in the media as the worse parents ever. I don't think we're profoundly dysfunctional. Did you teach Ethan that wealth bought privilege? I don't believe I ever intentionally tried to teach him that. Do you believe do you recall ever disciplining Ethan for anything? Sometimes I would take little things a way from him or we would just discuss the problems. When's the has time you recall disciplining Ethan for anything? I don't remember. Reporter: Tonight authorities say they fear Ethan couch is on the run. And there's speculation that his mother may have helped. Certainly she could face criminal charges for doing that. It is against the law, clearly. Reporter: Authorities fear he may have left the country. With the kind of money and resources and a bit those people have? They could be somewhere we're not going to be able to touch him. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Matt Gutman in lance. Up next, David Muir sits
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