As the search for Ethan Couch continues, tips are pouring in from all over the world. Law enforcement are currently working through the tips, while private investigators and a bounty hunter offer assistance in finding the teen.
Fox 4 News reports that authorities are currently going through a myriad of tips after the media posted pictures of Ethan, 18, and his mother Tonya Couch, 44. Both Ethan and his mother disappeared earlier this month after the teen violated his required probation. It’s speculated that he skipped his probation meeting and fled out of town after a video leaked of of him playing beer pong with his friends. Drinking alcohol is a violation of the teen’s probation.
Along with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals, a private investigator, Gil Wilson, is joining in to help provide insight on Ethan and Tonya’s whereabouts. Wilson, a former Dallas police officer, is surprised that the mom and son disappeared, and feels it was a quick, spontaneous decision that wasn’t thought out thoroughly.
“I believe this was just a spur of the moment decision. They weren’t thinking about it. The video came out and they just panicked. The mom panicked.”
Although Wilson feels that Ethan and his mother will be caught soon, others, including Cockrell Hill PD Chief Catherine Smit-Torrez, aren’t so sure. Smit-Torrez recently reflected on other people who went missing and still haven’t been found.
“There are people who have committed crimes and who have disappeared for many, many years.”
Yet Wilson stated that most people who’ve been missing for years disappeared well before social media came into play.
“That’s a different time. That was long before social media. You have cameras on every street corner going into every gas station every Walmart. You are gonna be on camera.”
One of the problems, per Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, is that Ethan more than likely had a huge head start before authorities began looking for him. Regardless of distance, Anderson said she wants him found as soon as possible and held accountable.
“My personal belief is he has probably run some distance. 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. I want him to be held accountable once and for all.”
Another reason authorities think the mom and son will be caught soon boils down to survival. Although they have the funds to hide, they lack the necessary survival skills to remain out of sight, and more than likely have no connections that are willing to help them. Furthermore, their money can only get them so far. After they exhaust their funds, Wilson feels they’ll be caught.
“He’s not a sympathetic person. He’s not a criminal so he doesn’t have a criminal element to go to where he can just knock on doors and there’s gonna be safe houses or people who are going to give him money.”
Bounty hunter Brian Couch from the Spartan Group, who has no relation to Ethan, says that the mom and son more than likely headed up North, possibly to Canada or possibly to the west.
“If he’s not in Canada, he’s out west somewhere.”
The U.S. marshals are offering a $5,000 reward for any information that can lead to Ethan’s location and his arrest. Once found, he’ll be turned over to the Tarrant county authorities. If Tonya is indeed with her son, she’ll more than likely face criminal charges as well.
In 2013, Ethan was sentenced to 10 years probation, inpatient therapy, and rehab after he killed four victims and injured numerous others while drinking and driving near the Fort Worth, Texas, area. He’s been fullfilling his obligations until earlier this month, when he fled from his scheduled probation meeting.
Anyone with any information on Ethan Couch or Tonya Couch’s whereabout should contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 800-336-0102.
[Photo Courtesy of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office]