Tonya Couch's return to Texas to face obstruction charges is imminent

By Chris Harris
January 05, 2016 05:35 PM
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The mother of so-called “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch waived her right to an extradition hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday morning, meaning that Texas authorities can take custody of Tonya Couch at any moment.

An email to PEOPLE from Jane Robison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokeswoman, confirms Couch, 48, remains in jail, and that police from Texas – where she’s wanted for hindering her 18-year-old son’s apprehension – can “pick her up at any time.”

Couch was detained last week in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta.

Weeks earlier, police allege she went on the run with her son after video footage appeared on Twitter showing Ethan at a party where drinking games were being played; if Ethan had been drinking, it would have violated the terms of his probation.

Ethan was 16 when he drove drunk and killed four pedestrians in 2013; he was spared jail time and sentenced to 10 years probation after his defense attorney argued that he suffered from “affluenza” because of his wealthy upbringing.

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Ethan remains in Mexico, where his attorneys claim they’ll fight his extradition to the United States if they feel his detention was mishandled.

The U.S. Marshals Service tracked Couch and his mother to an apartment in Mexico after one of them used a cell phone to order Domino’s Pizza.

A worldwide manhunt was launched for Ethan Couch and his mother. Ethan’s court date set for Jan. 19 in California, should Texas cops fail to get her by that time.

Tonya Couch faces 10 years behind bars if convicted.