TARRANT COUNTY, Texas -- (KIAH/CNN) -- A week after an arrest warrant was issued for Ethan Couch — more commonly known as the “affluenza teen” — for violating his probation, the 18-year-old remains on the lam.
Authorities have not yet pinpointed the location of Couch, who two years ago killed four people during a drunken driving crash, but they suspect his mother is helping to hide him.
On Monday, the Tarrant County, Texas, sheriff’s office announced that Tonya Couch has been listed as a missing person on nationwide databases and may be accompanying her fugitive son.
“We believe she is helping or assisting him but we can’t even prove they are together at this time,” said Sheriff Dee Anderson.
The sheriff’s office released photos of Tonya Couch and a black Ford F-150 pickup truck that the pair might be using.
A judge’s decision to give Ethan Couch probation instead of jail time was controversial at the time, and more so after a video this month appeared to show the teen playing a drinking game at a party.
Couch’s lawyers had argued that the teen’s parents deserved much of the blame. They even called a psychologist who testified that Couch, who was 16 at the time, suffered from “affluenza,” meaning he was a rich kid whose parents didn’t set limits for him.
Tarrant County Juvenile Court Judge Jean Boyd decided against a long prison term, instead giving him 10 years probation and mandating that he get treatment.
And instantly, there was outrage: How could someone kill and then avoid jail partly because he was spoiled? Would others who weren’t as wealthy have gotten the same treatment? And what confidence should anyone have that Couch — or, for that matter, the parents who’d enabled him — would change?
KXAN / AP Photo / Mike Graczyk