‘Affluenza’ Teen Ethan Couch and Mom Captured in Mexico

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
This photo of Ethan Couch surfaced online and was reportedly taken after he was captured in Mexico.
NBC News screenshot

Ethan Couch—who became infamous after a fatal 2013 drunken-driving crash for which his lawyers argued that the Texas teen should be spared jail time because he suffered from "affluenza," an affliction of wealth with little understanding of consequences—has been captured in Mexico.

NBC News reports that Couch, 18, was detained along with his mother in the coastal resort city of Puerto Vallarta Monday evening. Couch reportedly skipped a meeting with probation officials in his drunken-driving case earlier this month after video showing the teen at a beer pong party—a violation of his probation—surfaced online.


The disappearance of Couch and his mother triggered a nationwide manhunt involving U.S. marshals and the FBI. Mexican authorities confirmed that Couch and his mother were being detained but did not say whether they had been transferred to the U.S.

Images of Couch, reportedly taken after his arrest, show the teen appearing disheveled and sporting dyed black hair, mustache and goatee.

Authorities had worried that Couch and his mother had fled the U.S. after he missed the probation meeting earlier this month, NBC News reports. When police went to the house where Couch was supposed to be living, they found the residence empty. Couch's mother was listed as a missing person, and officers involved in Couch's 2013 arrest became increasingly agitated as the days continued to pass.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson had earlier told NBC News that he was "not surprised at all" that Couch ran, saying he believed that Couch hadn't learned anything since his fatal 2013 crash, which killed four people and paralyzed another.


Couch admitted to the crash, but the story gained national attention after a psychologist testified that Couch suffered from "affluenza," a disease of wealth that made it difficult for the privileged teen to understand limits and consequences because of his upbringing.

NBC notes that "affluenza is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an official diagnosis."


Couch, who was 16 at the time of the crash, "had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit. He received 10 years of probation and orders to go to a rehab center," NBC reports.

Read more at NBC News.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter