Crime

U.S. marshals release wanted poster, notice of reward for Ethan Couch

The U.S. Marshals Service on Friday released this wanted poster for Ethan Couch, sought for violating his probation in juvenile court for killing four people while driving drunk in 2013.
The U.S. Marshals Service on Friday released this wanted poster for Ethan Couch, sought for violating his probation in juvenile court for killing four people while driving drunk in 2013.

Updated on Friday afternoon, Dec. 18, 2015

The U.S. Marshals Service issued a wanted poster on Friday for Ethan Couch, the Tarrant County teenager who killed four people in 2013 in a drunken-driving crash.

The poster says a reward of up to $5,000 reward “is offered for information that leads to the whereabouts and arrest of Couch.” Informants are asked to call 800-336-0102.

The marshals and the FBI joined the search for Couch this week after Tarrant County Juvenile Services issued a directive Tuesday to area law enforcement agencies to apprehend Couch.

WFAA reported that Couch recently missed an appointment with his probation officer.

“After he missed his appointment, the probation officials went out to his house where he was supposed to be staying with his mom, and that started the whole process,” Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Thursday.

The Sheriff’s Department started searching for Couch on Wednesday morning after being notified of the directive, “which is like a juvenile version of an arrest warrant,” Anderson said.

Wherever Couch is found, he will eventually be turned over to Tarrant County authorities, Anderson said.

“My personal belief is he has probably run some distance,” Anderson told the Star-Telegram late Wednesday. “I fear he has had a pretty good head start. Reports are his mother is gone also, and I don’t think they are going to be found locally.”

In an interview on CNN on Thursday night, Anderson said he and fellow law officers will never stop looking for Couch.

“I want him to be held accountable once and for all,” Anderson said.

Sheriff’s investigators reponded to the 2013 wreck on Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County. Anderson has said it was “probably the most difficult accident scene we’ve ever had to work.”

Couch was sentenced to inpatient therapy and rehab, and 10 years of probation.

Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, said prosecutors are still investigating a video of a party that appears to include Couch. The six-second clip posted on Twitter last month shows a person resembling Couch clapping as someone else dives onto a table of red cups and cans of Miller Lite.

“My personal belief is when that video came out, I feel he felt like he violated his probation, and I believe that was the trigger that caused him to up and run,” Anderson said.

Anderson said that no warrant has been issued for Tanya Couch but that she will be charged if it is found that she helped her son avoid detention.

A motion to transfer Couch’s case to an adult court was filed by the district attorney’s office last month. A court date is still pending. If the motion is not granted, Couch’s probation will expire in April when he turns 19.

“I’ve got 140 deputies out looking for fugitives every day, and if we had a ‘Top 10 Wanted’ list, he’d be No. 1,” Anderson said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving issued a statement Wednesday afternoon asking everyone to be on the lookout for Couch.

“Four people were hit and killed, and no one was held responsible,” MADD President Colleen Sheehey-Church wrote. “This is egregious. ‘Affluenza’ aside, Ethan Couch appears to show blatant disregard for the law, and he must be held accountable.”

Staff writers Monica S. Nagy and Ryan Osborne and correspondent Sarah Bahari contributed to this report.

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