FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A grand jury has officially indicted Tonya Couch on two charges related to traveling with her son Ethan to Mexico last year. The indictments include a new charge of money laundering, related to cash she allegedly withdrew before the pair crossed the border.
Couch posted a $10,000 bond Thursday morning for the new charge. She was already out of jail on a $75,000 bond for a charge of hindering apprehension of a felon.
An arrest affidavit earlier this year said Couch withdrew more than $30,000 before leaving the country with her son. The indictment says the money was intended to further criminal activity, namely keeping her son from being arrested.
Ethan Couch was 16 years old when he caused a fatal car crash. He was intoxicated and speeding near Fort Worth when he ran into a disabled SUV. Four people died and others were hurt. However, the teenager was only sentenced to probation. Defense lawyers for Couch successfully argued that he had been coddled by wealthy parents and lacked a sense of responsibility for his actions.
An expert coined the term ‘affluenza’ for this condition, but the case and ruling were widely ridiculed by the community.
Video surfaced online last year that appeared to show Ethan Couch in violation of his probation, playing beer pong at a party. While prosecutors investigated that video, law enforcement officials believe that the teen and his mother fled to Mexico. After an FBI manhunt, they were located in Puerto Vallarta.
Tonya Couch was returned to North Texas and placed under house arrest after posting a $75,000 bond. Her son spent nearly a month in custody in Mexico before being sent back to the United States. He was moved to adult court and ordered by a judge to remain behind bars for nearly two years.