Authorities Worried That ‘Affluenza’ Teen Ethan Couch May Have Fled the Country

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch who was ‘too rich’ for jail sentence goes missing.

The FBI and U.S. Federal authorities have joined the search for a teenager who was serving probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck after invoking a defense that he suffered from “affluenza.” Samantha Jordan, the Tarrant County district attorney’s spokeswoman, confirmed to The Dallas Morning News Thursday the U.S. Tarrants County deputies have been searching for Ethan Couch, the spoiled 18-year-old whose infamous affluenza defense got him just probation time for a 2013 DUI crash that killed four people, ever since he missed a Dec. 11 probation meeting. The FBI says arrangements are being made for the bureau to join the search as well Couch is wanted on suspicion of violating his probation by failing to check in with his assigned officer.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday they’re trying to determine whether Couch, 18, was one of the people drinking at a party in a video posted on social media this month. According to Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, it looks like Ethan, and whoever he is with, has gotten a long head start. “We all know the family has plenty of money and I think this was planned and they’re going to run far and try to hide”, said Anderson in an interview with Reuters. The condition supposedly meant the boy didn’t know the consequences of his actions because his wealthy parents had never reprimanded him for anything. The 18-year-old named by Tarrant County officials as Ethan Couch, and placed on the county’s most wanted list, missed his mandatory meeting with his probation officer, prompting a warrant for his apprehension to be issued on Dec. 11.

On Tuesday, the juvenile-justice equivalent of an arrest warrant was issued for Couch, who received 10 years’ probation last year in his intoxication manslaughter case. “Ultimately, he will go before a juvenile judge to determine next steps, which could include up to his being detained at the Juvenile Detention Center until his 19th birthday in April,” she said. The district attorney’s office said Couch faces up to 10 years in prison if he is found to have violated his probation, which includes prohibitions against drinking, driving or using drugs. Menikos oversees the 323rd District Court and is expected to rule on a request to move Couch’s case from juvenile court to adult court after Couch turns 19.

The place was totally cleaned out except for a pinball machine, officials said. “You can run, but you’re always going to be looking over your shoulder,” Anderson warned. “We’re not going to give up. It’s one of those times when you hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so,” Anderson said. “I knew he was going to end up in more trouble.” On the night of June 15, 2013, Couch drove his Ford pickup into a crowd of people who were attempting to assist a stranded motorist . A psychologist who testified on the youth’s behalf at his trial claimed his condition of “affluenza” shielded him from responsibility for his actions but is not recognized as a diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.

When Couch was prosecuted in juvenile court, his lawyers invoked the affluenza defence that claimed his irresponsible lifestyle was due to wealthy parents who coddled him. We’re going to find you, wherever you are.” The Fort Worth-area teen was caught on video earlier this month allegedly playing a game of beer pong with friends — a violation of his probation. The county launched an investigation this month after a video was made public that appeared to show the teen among a group at party where beer pong was being played. A psychologist testified Couch suffered from “affluenza” because his family’s wealth and a dysfunctional relationship with his parents left him without a sense of responsibility. Couch killed 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down, and three people who had stopped to help: youth pastor Brian Jennings 41, and Hollie Boyles, 52, and her daughter, Shelby Boyles, 21.

The teen, who was 16 at the time of the deadly crash, had a blood-alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit when he was speeding and lost control of his pickup truck. In the months after the crash, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst asked the Senate committee on criminal justice to review how probation sentences are issued in adult and juvenile cases of intoxication manslaughter.

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