'Affluenza' Teen's Mom Deported Back to US

But Ethan Couch could be in Mexico for months
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2015 2:22 AM CST
Updated Dec 31, 2015 6:43 AM CST
Affluenza Teen's Mom Deported Back to US
Tonya Couch, center, is taken by authorities to a waiting car after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

For what could be the first time in his life, "affluenza" teen" Ethan Couch no longer has his mother nearby to look out for him. Mexican officials tell the AP that Tonya Couch was put on a plane from Guadalajara to Los Angeles on Wednesday because, unlike her 18-year-old son, she was not granted a delay in deportation to resolve legal matters. The AP reports that the mother, who faces arrest in Tarrant County, Texas, for allegedly helping her son flee the country, arrived in Los Angeles in the custody of US marshals early Thursday morning and was escorted through the airport terminal in handcuffs.

Ethan, meanwhile, has been transported from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City, the AP reports, and although he was only granted a three-day injunction, a US Marshals spokesman says legal wrangling could keep him in Mexico for weeks or even months. A Texas lawyer who deals with juvenile cases tells the Dallas Morning News that dragging out the process will affect how judges in the US deal with Couch. "It's a mistake to go down this path. It has the potential to show the judge that his intent was to flee," he says. "Ethan's going to have to make a decision: either say he was with this all along or he's going to have to blame his mother." (Couch, who fled to Mexico with his mom after an alleged probation violation, was tracked down through a pizza order.)

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