Tonya Couch Back in DFW

Tonya Couch, the mother of affluenza-afflicted teen Ethan Couch, is back in Tarrant County after taking a probation-dodging trip to Mexico with her son. She and Ethan were arrested in Puerto Vallarta in late December. They'd been gone for almost a month, having ditched North Texas following discovery of a video that apparently showed Ethan Couch playing beer pong on Twitter and a missed probation appointment. Ethan Couch remains in Mexico, fighting extradition. Tonya Couch, who's been charged with aiding her son's escape from Texas, waived extradition to the United States and was deported. She flew to Los Angeles with the help of some U.S. Marshals on New Year's Eve and agreed not to fight returning to Texas on Tuesday. She was booked into Tarrant County Jail Thursday afternoon.

“She was very quiet, very reserved. She was respectful. Surprisingly, she was very appreciative,” Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said at a Thursday press conference. “She said the deputies had treated her better than she’d expect to be treated.”

Anderson met Tonya Couch at DFW Airport personally, he said, and rode shotgun in the Tarrant County van that returned the fugitive from Fort Worth. Tonya Couch said she hadn't eaten since Wednesday, so Anderson made sure she got a sack lunch.

The sheriff hopes that Tonya Couch will encourage Ethan to quickly return from Mexico, but did not say Thursday whether she'd agreed to do so.

Tonya Couch will be arraigned Friday morning. Her bail has been set at $1 million and she faces 2 to 10 years in prison. Ethan Couch was given 10 years probation in 2013 after he killed four people in a drunk driving incident. He has a hearing set for January 19 to move his case to adult court, but because he was not in the adult system at the time of his fleeing, the maximum jail time he currently faces is 120 days. Should he screw up after his probation is transferred, he would face serving out the rest of his probationary sentence in state prison.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young