Weeks prior to fleeing to Mexico with her 18-year-old son Ethan, Tonya Couch, 48, told officials following her arrest that she grabbed $30,000 from her bank account and informed her husband that he wouldn’t be seeing either her or their son ever again, according to court documents shared by CNN on January 9. Couch and her son made headlines previously for Ethan’s “affluenza” defense after he received a sentence of mere probation for his drunken driving accident that killed four people in 2013.
The mom was in Texas this week after she and Ethan were arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last week. Described as a “person of means,” Tonya was extradited from Mexico and has been accused of assisting Ethan to flee from the law after a video surfaced showing him at a raucous party where alcohol was present, according to USA Today.
After appearing in a Tarrant County, Texas, courtroom on Friday to face her charge of hindering apprehension of a fugitive, the mom went on to complain about the conditions of her jail cell and added that the light in her cell was too bright for her to get any sleep. Yahoo! News quoted Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson as saying “She expressed a slight displeasure about her accommodations, and I told her this was a jail and not a resort.”
After a video was released showing Ethan at a party where beer and alcohol were being served, authorities speculated that the mother assisted her son to go on the lam for fear that Ethan’s presence at the party would violate the terms of his probation. Although Ethan appeared in the video, he was not depicted consuming any alcohol.
The mom is being held on a $1 million bond. After that party video was released, Ethan skipped out on a December 10 meeting with his probation officer and has been considered on the run and fleeing authorities ever since. Anderson claims that Ethan and his mother have been unaccounted for beginning in late November. If found guilty of the felony hindering apprehension charge, Couch could be looking at anywhere from two to ten years behind bars.
Although he’s still under arrest and being held in a Mexican jail, Ethan is fighting extradition back to the U.S. Anderson said it could take weeks or months for the 18 year old to be extradited, but that he’d be waiting for him.
Tonya’s lawyer said that her client would not be pleading guilty to any charges, according to CNN. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.