Fort Worth

Prosecutors seek to revoke ‘affluenza’ mom’s bond after alleged alcohol violation

Tonya Couch, leaving the Tarrant County Jail last year, has been sent back to jail after failing a drug test.
Tonya Couch, leaving the Tarrant County Jail last year, has been sent back to jail after failing a drug test. Star-Telegram archives

Tarrant County prosecutors are seeking to revoke Tonya Couch’s bond over an alleged alcohol violation last week, according to a motion filed in court Tuesday.

The motion alleged that Couch, the mother of “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch, “failed to abstain from the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages,” a condition of her bond.

Tonya Couch is accused of withdrawing $30,000 from a bank account and fleeing with her son to Mexico after he skipped a probation appointment in 2015. She is charged with money laundering and hindering the apprehension of a felon and has been free on bond since January 2016.

Ethan Couch, 20, killed four people in a drunken-driving crash in southern Tarrant County in 2013. He received 10 years’ probation in the case and is serving time in jail as a condition of the probation.

He first received national attention three years ago after a witness at his trial said he suffered from “affluenza,” meaning that he couldn’t tell right from wrong because of his affluent upbringing.

In December 2015 he and his mother went missing after he skipped a probation appointment. They were arrested a few weeks later in a Mexican resort town and taken back to Texas.

The motion filed by prosecutors Tuesday requested that Tonya Couch be held in custody until her trial, scheduled for Oct. 2.

Sam Jordan, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, declined to comment on the filing, citing the gag order placed on the case by state District Judge Wayne Salvant. Couch’s attorneys, Stephanie Patten and Steve Gordon, did not respond to requests for comment.

Tonya Couch’s bond conditions set in August allowed her to possess, but not consume, alcohol.

After prosecutors learned she was working as a bartender — a job that was approved by the county probation office — they filed a motion asking Salvant to tighten her bond conditions.

Salvant modified her bond conditions in October, adding the condition of not possessing alcohol but allowing her to remove a GPS ankle monitor, according to court records.

Tonya Couch went home Tuesday after posting bond and receiving an electronic ankle monitor. She'll be on 24-hour home confinement as she faces a felony hindering apprehension charge. (Ryan Osborne/Star-Telegram)