The parents of a Texas teen who escaped incarceration through the use of an “affluenza” defense have filed for divorce for a second time. Fred and Tonya Couch, the father and mother of Ethan, obtained a legal divorce before the young man killed four bystanders while recklessly driving a vehicle in 2013. They had, however, remarried in 2011. In court papers filed recently in Tarrant County, Fred Couch has asked to court to dissolve his marriage, alleging mistreatment by his wife. According to the divorce complaint, Tonya allegedly took more than $25,000 out of their joint account and then called the father, telling him he would “never see her or their son again.”
Ethan Couch made national news three years ago when he struck and killed four people while operating a vehicle at approximately 70 mile per hour in a zone marked 45 mph. He was arrested and charged with drunk driving and intoxication manslaughter, and was convicted, but received a suspended sentence and 10 years probation after defense counsel offered testimony from a psychologist that he suffered from “affluenza,” a condition that allegedly led him to believe that money buys privilege and that there should be no negative consequences to bad behavior. The condition is not recognized by the medical or psychological professions as a legitimate illness.
According to sources, Tonya fled with Ethan in early November, after videos surfaced showing Ethan drinking at a party with friends. After Ethan missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer, a warrant was issued for Tonya and Ethan. They were arrested in Puerto Vallarta in late December, 2016. Tonya was extradited to the United States and held on $1 million bail, but Ethan remains incarcerated in a detention facility in Mexico.