Crime

'Affluenza' Teen's Mother, Tonya Couch, Is Released From Jail

| by Nicholas Roberts
Tonya Couch, 44Tonya Couch, 44

Tonya Couch, the 44-year-old mother of infamous 'affluenza' teen Ethan Couch, was released from jail on the morning of Jan. 12 after she was able to post a reduced bond.

Tonya and her son were detained in a small resort town in Mexico Dec. 28 following a manhunt for Ethan that began earlier in the month after he missed a meeting with his probation officer. Tonya stands accused of helping her son leave the country to avoid a probation hearing, which could have resulted in jail time for him. She plans to plead not guilty, her lawyer said, according to CNN.

Tonya was later extradited to Los Angeles, where she was put into the custody of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Tonya's bail was originally set at $1 million while in Los Angeles, but that amount was lowered by a Fort Worth, Texas, judge to $75,000 on Jan. 8. Fort Worth is where Tonya and Ethan live. 

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The judge, however, also imposed several conditions on her terms of release. Tonya is required to wear an ankle monitor, report to police every week, face regular drug tests, be placed under house arrest, and stay at the house of her eldest son, 29-year-old Steven McWilliams.

She is also ordered to undergo a mental examination after the court found "reasonable cause" to believe Tonya "suffers from a mental illness or is a person with mental retardation," which would make her incompetent to stand trial, according to court documents cited by CNN.

Tonya refused to answer questions from reporters as she walked from the jail to the probation office on Jan. 12, appearing emotional at times, WFAA reports.

McWilliams told the court that his mother did not own any property of her own and did not have access to the $100,000 in a bank account which was frozen by the government.

Ethan is still in Mexico. A Mexican judge temporarily halted deportation proceedings during the week of Jan. 4, and the teen is reportedly deciding whether or not to fight extradition, CNN notes.

Sources: CNN, WFAA / Photo Credit: WFAA