Officials: Mother of “affluenza” teen now on missing persons list

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hundreds of leads come in as authorities search for Ethan Couch.

Investigators have run down “hundreds and hundreds” of leads in the search for affluenza teen Ethan Couch, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Monday, but still have no solid information on his whereabouts. “Some of the leads we get are not really useful at all,” Anderson said at a joint press conference with Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson. “But we don’t want that to discourage people from sending in tips.

Ethan Couch killed four people in the drunken 2013 crash but was sentenced to only probation after his lawyer argued that he suffered from “affluenza” and blamed his irresponsible lifestyle on being coddled too much by his wealthy parents. Anderson said the missing persons report filed by Tonya Couch’s mother gave authorities “a leg up on getting her into the national computer system.” Anderson said he and the district attorney’s office have discussed naming Tonya Couch a suspect in aiding her son’s escape, but that “we’re not to the point where we can say that.” Ethan Couch, 18, has been on the run since reportedly missing an appointment with a probation officers. Couch, who turns 19 in April, was 16 when he lost control of his Ford F-350 pickup on June 15, 2013, and plowed into a group of people helping a woman whose car had stalled on Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County. “As a juvenile being on probation, the problem is that he’s not here,” Wilson said. “They have to ask permission to leave the county…Yes, it’s a violation of his probation.” Couch’s disappearance came while Wilson’s office was investigating a video of him allegedly partying around a beer pong table. A six-second clip posted to Twitter on Dec. 2 showed a person resembling Couch standing next to the table, clapping as another person dove onto the table.

Couch, who had been drinking at his parents’ second home in Burleson, got behind the wheel with seven people piled into his Ford pickup, authorities said. It says a reward of up to $5,000 “is offered for information that leads to the whereabouts and arrest of Couch.” Authorities have reviewed bank, phone and airplane records in their pursuit of Couch. Couch’s father, Fred Couch, met with investigators and was “polite and cooperative, but not particularly forthcoming with information,” Anderson said. Couch’s case gained national attention when a psychologist said he was a victim of “affluenza,” a state of reckless or irresponsible behavior brought on by wealth.

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. Another teenage survivor, Soliman Mohmand, suffered broken bones and internal injuries. “There isn’t anything more difficult in the world than these people being without their family members and us being focused on the man who killed them,” Wilson said. “It’s just heartbreaking.” Couch and his mother lived together by themselves, Anderson said.

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