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"Affluenza" teen Ethan Couch was finally found on 28 December in Mexico after weeks of being on the run with his mother, Tonya Couch. The 18-year-old was sentenced to 10 years probation for a 2013 drink driving accident that left four dead when he was 16. Couch recently appeared in a video playing a drinking game with friends—violating his probation—and fled with his mother.
Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson announced Couch could face as little as 120 days in adult jail for violating his probation. Couch, who was sentenced as a juvenile, violated his probation as a juvenile. According to CNN, under Texas law, the maximum sentence a juvenile judge can give Couch is imprisonment in a juvenile facility until he turns 19 on 11 April 2016.
The district attorney wants to move Couch to adult court, but because he violated probation in the juvenile system, he would start with a clean slate in the adult probation system, CNN revealed. When a judge reassesses Couch's probation in the adult system, that judge can sentence Couch to a maximum of 120 days in adult jail. Wilson added that if Couch is placed on adult probation and he violates it as an adult, he could face up to 40 years in jail.
Couch and his mother were detained in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta. Ricardo Vera, a local official for Mexico's National Migration Institute, told Reuters that the pair entered Mexico by land and did not register when entering. Vera said that the mother-son duo were expected to be returned to Houston on a commercial flight from Jalisco's state capital of Guadalajara.
The teen will appear in juvenile court, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said. Meanwhile, his 48-year-old mother would be arrested for hindering apprehension. "They had planned to disappear," Anderson said during a news conference in Fort Worth, Texas. "They even had something that was almost akin to a going-away party before they left town."
A police booking photo taken in Mexico of the teen showed the previously blond Couch sporting black hair. According to Reuters, the sheriff said Couch's darker hair suggests he was attempting to change his appearance. After being arrested in Mexico, the pair was handed over to Mexican immigration authorities for being in the country illegally, the Jalisco State Attorney General's Office said.