Dee Anderson told Ethan Couch in a message on Monday that he can run, but they’re going to find him. Eighteen-year-old Couch is said to be running from a 10-year sentence of probation with his mother, 48-year-old Tonya Couch. Thought to be a victim of “affluenza,” Couch received probation for killing four people in a car accident two years ago while driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Star-Telegram on Monday.
Under probation, Ethan Couch was prohibited from drinking alcohol and was ordered to attend in-patient rehab at a lockdown facility. A video surfaced earlier this month on Twitter showing Couch at a party allegedly drinking and playing beer pong. The video was captioned, “Ethan Couch violating probation,” with a promise that the social media user had more proof. Couch now faces possible jail time and is reportedly on the run due to that one video.
Tarrant County, Texas Sheriff Dee Anderson isn’t surprised Ethan Couch was caught drinking or that he’s on the run, saying “He’s not the kind of person who rehabilitates, who learns his lesson.” Anderson went on to say at a news conference on Monday that Couch doesn’t believe the law applies to him because that’s how he was raised, referring to the defense Couch’s attorneys used during his trial in December 2013 when they argued that Couch suffered from “affluenza,” a psychological condition causing reckless and irresponsible behavior in wealthy young people.
Couch has been known as the “affluenza teen” ever since. According to Dee Anderson, Ethan Couch showed no emotion or remorse for killing those four people in June 2013. Couch’s only concern at the time was how he could stay out of jail. “If he has enough money,” said Anderson, Couch thinks “he can get out of it.” Couch didn’t check in with his probation officer on December 11. Ethan’s mother, Tonya Couch, has also been missing. The FBI, along with U.S. marshals and local authorities are now searching for Tonya’s black Ford Harley Davidson pickup with Texas plate BC50945.
Dee Anderson thinks Ethan Couch could possibly be out of the country by now, saying they have the money and ability to disappear. A warrant was issued last Tuesday for Couch’s arrest, and the U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Couch. Fred Couch, Ethan’s father, says he hasn’t seen or heard from his ex-wife or son in weeks and both Ethan and Tonya’s passports are missing. Couch turns 19 in April, and, if caught, could face time in a state penitentiary for violating his parole by drinking and leaving the country.
Kevin McConnell’s 12-year-old son, Lucas, was killed two years ago by a drunk Ethan Couch who’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. McConnell thinks Couch never was held accountable and hopes the situation will be handled more severely this time. “Nothing is going to make an impact on this guy unless there’s something severe or certain,” said McConnell. Ethan Couch, 16 at the time, killed four pedestrians and seriously injured two others, leaving one paralyzed, while driving drunk in Burleson, Texas, south of Fort Worth in June 2013. His light sentence was met with anger and disbelief, but now Sheriff Dee Anderson has a harsh message for Ethan Couch: “You can run, but you’re always going to be looking over your shoulder. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to come after you. We’re going to find you, wherever you are.”