A wealthy Texas teen who had been a fugitive after breaking his probation sentence for killing four people while driving drunk, will be returned to the United States after being caught in Mexico, Mexican authorities said on Tuesday.
Ethan Couch, 18, and his mother, Tonya Couch, were taken into custody on Monday evening in the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta, the Jalisco State Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
Couch became known in the United States as the “affluenza” teen during his trial in juvenile court over the 2013 deaths, when a psychologist said he was so wealthy and spoiled he could not tell the difference between right and wrong.
He has been serving 10 years probation for intoxication manslaughter, a sentence critics saw as far too light.
Couch and his mother, 48, disappeared earlier this month, prompting officials in Tarrant County, Texas, to issue a warrant for his apprehension.
The two were captured at the crossing of two streets near the Malecon, or boardwalk, in Puerto Vallarta. A police booking picture from Mexico showed the previously blond Ethan Couch with dark hair.
Mexican authorities said they had been working with the U.S. Marshals Service since Saturday to locate Couch and his mother.
Police handed the pair over to Mexican immigration authorities for being in the country without the proper permission so they could be returned to the United States, the Jalisco attorney general’s office said.
Tarrant County officials scheduled a news conference for conference for 10 a.m. (1600 GMT) in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss the latest developments.
Couch, then 16, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit when he lost control of his pickup truck and fatally struck a stranded motorist on the side of the road and three people who had stopped to help.
Several passengers riding in Couch’s vehicle were hurt, including one friend who was permanently brain damaged.
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said last week it was possible Couch and his mother had fled the country. He said the home they shared had been cleared of its contents.
Their passports had been reported missing by the teen’s father, who has cooperated with investigators.
U.S. Marshals had offered a $5,000 reward in exchange for his whereabouts.