Charges were not filed against Couch because his alleged victim refused to talk to police

By Chris Harris
Updated February 16, 2016 05:00 PM
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Credit: LM Otero/AP

Police were called to the home of Fred Couch on Friday to investigate claims that the father of Ethan Couch – the 18-year-old Texan known as the “affluenza teen” – had assaulted his girlfriend, PEOPLE confirms.

A spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE that no criminal charges were filed against Couch after his girlfriend refused to cooperate with detectives.

The spokesman says that dispatchers fielded a call Friday from a woman who said she was Couch’s girlfriend. She told 911 operators she had been choked by the 50-year-old businessman.

But the woman wouldn’t let investigators take photographs of her neck, which according to the spokesperson had apparent hand prints. The girlfriend then the area in her car, the spokesperson says.

Fred Couch did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.

Ethan Couch has been in the custody of police in Texas since since Jan. 28 after he was extradited from Mexico.

Mexican authorities detained Couch and his mother in late December in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. The mother and son spent weeks on the run, allegedly fleeing the United States after learning detectives were investigating Couch for possible probation violations.

In 2013, when he was 16, Couch killed four pedestrians in a drunk driving accident. He was spared jail time and sentenced to probation after his defense attorney successfully argued his client suffered from “affluenza,” suggesting his wealthy upbringing had rendered him incapable of understanding the repercussions of his actions.

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Couch and his mother allegedly went on the lam after potentially incriminating video footage was posted to Twitter showing Ethan allegedly attending a party where drinking games were being played.

Couch’s 10-year probation sentence prohibits him from driving a car, doing drugs or drinking alcohol.

The U.S. Marshals Service tracked Couch and his mother to a Mexico apartment, where one of them used a cell phone to call Domino’s Pizza.

Couch’s mother has been charged by Texas authorities with hindering the apprehension of her fugitive son and was released earlier this month on $75,000 bail.

The terms of her release call for Couch to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. She must also live at her older son’s home, a judge ruled.

Public records indicate that Fred Couch has something of a checkered past, including several arrests for violent offenses.

PEOPLE confirms Couch was arrested for assault in 1999 for punching a contractor at a construction site. He was sentenced to several days behind bars and placed on probation for two years.

One of Couch’s female employees accused him of sexual harassment and forced touching in 2009, and court records indicate that case was eventually settled in civil court, though the terms of that settlement remain sealed.

More than a year ago, Couch was arrested for falsely identifying himself as a police officer, according to court records. He’s set to appear in court to answer to that charge on March 18.

Police also confirm they were called to Couch’s home this past November by a woman claiming to be his girlfriend. She told police Couch had been abusive towards her, but no charges were ever filed.