Fort Worth

Rehab costs for ‘affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch total about $200,000

Ethan Couch is escorted out of the Scott D. Moore Juvenile Justice Center after his motion-to-transfer hearing Feb. 19, 2016, in Fort Worth.
Ethan Couch is escorted out of the Scott D. Moore Juvenile Justice Center after his motion-to-transfer hearing Feb. 19, 2016, in Fort Worth. Special to the Star-Telegram

Before he violated his probation and fled to Mexico, Ethan Couch received about $200,000 in “residential care and support” for more than a year, with the state picking up most of the tab, according to costs outlined in court documents made available this week.

Couch’s case was transferred to the adult court system Monday, when he turned 19. He became known as the “affluenza” teen after a witness used the term during trial to describe the consequence-free life that prosecutors said Couch led as a result of having wealthy parents.

As a 16-year-old in 2013, he killed four people in a DWI crash and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation.

Judge Jean Boyd also ordered Couch to undergo rehabilitation at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, where his daily cost was $673, or about $20,000 a month, according to case documents.

Couch’s parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, were found to be “financially unable to pay” for the full cost of their son’s stay, according to the documents. They were ordered to pay a monthly cost of $1,170 from February 2014 through the end of Couch’s stay in Vernon, the documents say.

Couch left the Vernon facility in November 2014. He was then placed in The Next Step Program in Amarillo at a daily cost of $103.08, according to case documents.

Couch’s parents were ordered by the court to pay for the full cost of Couch’s stay in Amarillo through February 2015, totaling about $11,000.

The district attorney’s office declined to comment on Couch’s treatment stints Tuesday because they occurred when he was in the juvenile court system.

Couch will receive the conditions of his adult probation from state District Judge Wayne Salvant, who placed a gag order on Couch’s case Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said a hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday. But Salvant’s court coordinator could not confirm Couch’s next court appearance.

Anderson commented to the media after Couch's latest hearing in Criminal District Court 2, in front of Judge Wayne Salvant

Couch has been held in the Tarrant County Jail’s maximum-security facility since Feb. 5.

His new probation conditions could include 180 additional days in jail.

Timeline: The case of ‘affluenza teen’ Ethan Couch

Judge Tim Menikos, who took over Couch’s juvenile case when Boyd retired, transferred Couch to adult jail. Couch had been in juvenile detention since Jan. 28, when he was returned to Fort Worth after evading authorities for more than a month in Mexico.

On Dec. 2, a video surfaced showing someone who looked like Couch at a beer pong party, which could have led to his probation being revoked. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, on Dec. 3, Couch’s probation officer asked him to come in for a drug test but he did not respond and did not appear for a scheduled meeting with the probation officer on Dec. 10.

Authorities found Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta on Dec. 28.

Tonya Couch faces a third-degree felony charge of hindering the apprehension of a felon. She was fitted with an ankle monitor and released on bail Jan. 12. She has not been indicted.

"They've got so much money, and we need help."

He left Mexico and arrived at D/FW airport just before 11 a.m. Jan. 28 and then was transported to the Tarrant County juvenile detention center. Passengers on his AeroMexico flight to D/FW said he seemed nervous.

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