Update: Mexican officials say Ethan Couch and his mother entered Mexico under false names. Telemundo 40 spoke to authorities in Mexico>>Ethan Couch Story
UPDATE: Tarrant County Sheriff Department hopes to have the case of Ethan Couch transferred from juvenile court to adult court when he is returned to Texas. At a Tuesday press conference, Sheriff Dee Anderson said the teenager’s mother will be charged with hindering apprehension.
One of my sources with the U.S. Marshals Service, not directly on Couch case said Immigration authorities in Mexico are not done with Couch and his mother. Both face charges there of entering the country illegally.
U.S. Marshals are on their way to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico where Ethan Couch has been detained with his mother, Tonya. Couch, better known as the “affluenza teen” has been missing for two weeks. CNN broke the story Monday night.
The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department has been looking for the 18-year-old Couch ever since he allegedly violated his probation. Investigators were also looking for his mother who they said was missing. A warrant was issued for Couch to be taken into custody after his probation officer couldn’t reach him earlier this month.
Two years ago, Couch made national news when he was sentenced to probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people. A psychologist had testified that Couch suffered from “affluenza” and that the 16-year-old at the time of his court case was a rich kid whose parents didn’t teach him the difference between right and wrong.
WHAT HAPPENS TO COUCH NOW?
The U.S Marshals Service North District of Texas office will return Couch to Texas. According to one of my sources with the U.S Marshals Service, if a fugitive from the U.S. is a U.S. citizen, the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM), which is Mexico’s Immigration Service will make a formal determination if the fugitive has an legal status to remain in Mexico. The fugitive will remain in its custody until that determination is made.
INM generally views U.S. fugitives as undesirable aliens, and will order them to be deported from Mexico. The U.S. Marshals who arrive in Mexico will then escort the fugitive to a U.S. destination on a direct flight from Puerta Vallarta.
My source who is not on the Couch case and was speaking in general terms said there should not be a lot of paperwork involved with Couch, because it is an internal Mexican immigration process and not a formal request from the U.S. like an extradition. The U.S. Marshals Service will provide documentation and photos to Mexican authorities.
The process to return a fugitive from Mexico to the U.S. can take between 24 to 48 hours. That means Ethan Couch could be back in North Texas very soon if there are no problems with the paperwork. As for his mother, Tarrant County Sheriff’s investigators still have to determine if she was allegedly involved in her son’s decision to take off and hide in Mexico.