Mexico has deported the mother of an American teenager wanted for violating his probation in connection with a drunk-driving crash that killed four people in 2013.
Mexican officials say Tonya Couch was placed late Wednesday on a plane bound for the U.S., where she faces an arrest warrant and felony charges of "hindering an apprehension."
But it could be weeks before her son, 18-year-old Ethan Couch, is sent back to the U.S., after his lawyers on Wednesday filed a petition to temporarily block his deportation.
"We're hopeful that's not the case," said Richard Hunter, chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service in South Texas. "We're hopeful the Mexican immigration court will make a quick and decisive decision and return the Couches to America."
The pair was taken into custody Monday in Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s west coast. The U.S. Department of Justice had offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Couch’s arrest.
He missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer on December 10. Officials in Texas, where Couch is wanted, have said they believe he fled in November after a video surfaced showing him drinking at a party in what would be a violation of his probation conditions.
The 2013 crash happened when Couch was 16 years old and drunk and slammed into an SUV that was on the side of the road. He pled guilty to intoxication manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years of probation.
The case made national news when a defense expert said that his wealthy parents treated him too softly, which ingrained a sense of irresponsibility, or what he termed “affluenza.”