FBI, U.S. Marshals searching for ‘affluenza’ teen

The authorities think Couch might have fled the country

FILE - In this December 2013 image taken from a video by KDFW-FOX 4, Ethan Couch is seen during his court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas. The family of Couch, who killed four people in a drunken wreck, will pay a fraction of the cost of court-ordered treatment as part of his probation sentence. (AP Photo/KDFW-FOX 4, File)

(CNN) – Federal authorities are looking for the Texas teenager who got probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people. Ethan Couch’s attorneys claimed the teen had “affluenza,” or so much wealth and privilege that he does not know what consequences are.

Couch is now on probation, and isn’t supposed to be drinking alcohol. However, someone posted a beer pong clip on Twitter earlier this month of Couch drinking, and the county DA got wind of it. They went to talk to Couch about it, but it seems he’d disappeared. His probation officer hasn’t heard from him in days. No one knows where he is.

The county sheriff wanted Couch locked up in 2013, but one defense witness changed that.

In one of the most bizarre defense strategies we’ve ever heard of, Couch’s attorney’s blamed the boy’s parents for his behavior that night, all because of how they raised him. A psychologist and defense witness testified Couch was a product of something he called “affluenza,” a lifestyle where wealth brought privilege and there were no consequences for bad behavior.

The so-called “affluenza” defense touched off outrage around the country. After all, Couch’s blood alcohol was three times the legal limit and four people were dead.

But the court bought it. Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter, but instead of going to jail, the judge sentenced him to alcohol rehabilitation and 10 years probation. His father agreed to pay half-a-million dollars for his son’s pricey rehab digs.

Victims’ families were horrified: “We had over 180 years of life taken, future life, not 180 years lived, but 180 years of future life taken and two of those were my wife and daughter.”


The authorities think Couch might have fled the country with none other than his mother. The boy’s attorney would not discuss the case.

If authorities do find Couch, a judge will decide if he violated his probation. If so, this time Ethan Couch could end up behind bars for a decade.

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