Tonya Couch, the mother of affluenza teen Ethan Couch, is expected to face a judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday for an extradition hearing. Texas authorities hope to prosecute her for helping her son flee the country, WFAA-TV reports.
The hearing should be a short one, with the mother heading back to jail afterward. Tonya Couch is expected to waive extradition, but regardless, she will not be put on a plane to Texas on Tuesday. The Tarrant County, Texas, District Attorney's Office said that it expects Tonya Couch to be returned to the state on Wednesday at the earliest. Once there, she will face Judge Wayne Salvant on charges of hindering apprehension.
Tonya Couch and her son set off a search last month after Ethan Couch did not show up for a mandatory probation meeting. The now-18-year-old, who killed four people in a drunken-driving wreck when he was 16, was given probation after his lawyers argued that he suffered from "affluenza," an affliction of wealth in which Couch faced little consequences for his actions.
The pair were apprehended in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Dec. 28. Ethan Couch had noticeably altered his appearance, having dyed his light-colored hair black. He couldn't completely avoid attention, however. According to the Dallas Morning News, which interviewed an employee at the hotel where the Couches were staying in Mexico, the mother and son duo acted strange from the very beginning.
Marina Meza detailed to the news site how the Couches refused to complete their registration, which required identification, and paid their $80 nightly fee in cash.
"They seemed like normal people, perhaps a bit too private," Meza, 46, who has worked at the Los Tules resort for two decades, told the Morning News. "But that's something you get used to: the idea that some people may be running from their past."
While spending almost a week at Los Tules, Ethan Couch reportedly went out to a gentlemen's club and racked up such a bill that Meza had to wake up his mother to pay his tab.
"Then I found out about his past and thought that, too, was really odd," Meza said. "He didn't have enough money to pay the bar bill, and his mother had to bail him out."
Club staff reported that Ethan Couch got extremely drunk and burned through some $2,000, Mediaite notes.
Tonya Couch reportedly called the front desk every day to see whether there were any cancellations so they could extend their stay at the resort that was packed for the holidays. Once, Meza said, she suggested that they move to a nearby neighborhood where their dog, which they were travelling with, would be welcome.
It was only after the Couches checked out of the hotel, that Meza recognized them. A co-worker reportedly suggested that they matched newspaper photographs.
“Oh my God, I was shocked and just stared,” she said.
When the authorities came to invesetigate, Meza acknowledged that the Couches left on Christmas Eve without saying anything. Meza did recommend, however, that the cops search nearby neighborhoods where pets might be allowed. The were apprehended within hours.
Ethan Couch is still in Mexico fighting his own extradition to the U.S.