The international manhunt for “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch and his mother, Tonya, ended Monday in Mexico, where authorities apprehended the pair after tracking them to the resort city of Puerto Vallarta.
And it was a pizza-delivery order that helped give them away, the Associated Press reported.
Couch — an 18-year-old from an affluent Dallas-area family — was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service after allegedly violating his probation for a 2013 drunken-driving incident that left four people dead and more injured. The teen, whose privileged upbringing was cited in his defense, missed a Dec. 10 probation meeting, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, and couldn’t be located by an officer.
Authorities issued a warrant to take Couch into custody and said they feared he’d fled the country.
U.S. Marshals worked with local Mexican officials to find the pair, according to the prosecutor’s office in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
Their big break: One of the phones owned by the Couches was used to call Domino’s Pizza, according to the AP, which cited a Mexican police report.
The call led investigators to a condominium complex, but a tourism operator told the authorities that the Couches had been asked to move from the condo, to make way for the owners, AP reported.
Ethan and Tonya Couch had already moved to an apartment in Puerto Vallarta’s less glamorous old town section, according to the wire service.
Eduardo Almague, Jalisco’s attorney general, told reporters that the two had initially stayed close to the beach, but moved to a more “discreet” location, Reuters reported.
The Couches were caught on the street near the city’s seafront promenade.
Laura Vega, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service in the Northern District of Texas-Dallas, told The Post in an email that the agency doesn’t discuss or disclose investigative techniques.
During his sentencing in the drunken-driving case, a psychologist testifying in Couch’s defense had said the teen suffered from “affluenza,” which contributed to his reckless decisions. That word — and Couch’s sentence, to drug- and alcohol-free juvenile probation — drew national criticism and scorn, before Couch faded from the spotlight.
Then, this month, a short video clip surfaced online, which appeared to show Couch at a beer pong game. Shortly thereafter, authorities said he’d gone missing.
On Tuesday, after Couch was detained, officials in Texas said the son-and-mother escape appeared to have been planned; Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said investigators learned of “something that was almost akin to a going-away party.”
Now, authorities in the United States await the pair’s arrival. The AP on Wednesday reported that Ethan Couch had been “granted a three-day delay in deportation.”
It wasn’t clear if that delay also extended to Couch’s mother.
Officials earlier this week remained vague on the Couches’ travel plans, but a U.S. Marshal did tell reporters the duo would probably be expelled.
“They’re trying to fight being brought back somehow,” Anderson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s just a continuing string of what we’ve seen all along. We’re patient people. We’ll be waiting.”
The attorneys who represent Ethan Couch in his juvenile case in Texas said in a statement that they aren’t involved in the proceedings in Mexico. They aren’t representing Tonya Couch, either, they said.
Domino’s Pizza did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.