DALLAS (AP) — Authorities on Monday provided the latest developments in the search for a Texas teenager who received only probation for causing a drunken car crash that killed four people after his lawyers said he suffered from "affluenza" because his wealthy parents had coddled him too much. Ethan Couch, 18, missed an appointment with his probation officer two weeks ago, leading authorities to issue the juvenile equivalent of an arrest warrant for him. Investigators believe he fled with his mother, with whom he had been living. Here are some answers to questions surrounding the case:
WHAT ARE AUTHORITIES SAYING ABOUT THE CASE?
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Monday that investigators have received hundreds of leads in their search for Couch, but cautioned that such tips can be a "double-edged sword" because they can lead investigators down dead ends. He said he thinks Couch's mother, Tonya Couch, is helping him avoid capture and that they may be travelling in her black pickup truck. Authorities also confirmed that Tonya Couch's mother over the weekend filed a missing person report on her daughter.
DO AUTHORITIES KNOW WHERE COUCH MAY BE?
Officials say they don't know his whereabouts and have expressed concern that he may have left the country, although Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney's office, has said there's no specific indication that Couch has crossed the border. The U.S. Marshals Service has issued a wanted poster promising a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Couch's whereabouts and capture.
WHY WOULD HE HAVE FLED?
Tarrant County investigators were looking for Couch to ask him about a video posted online a few weeks ago showing people at a party playing drinking games. One of them appears to be Couch, and if found to be drinking, it would violate his probation and he could be sent to prison for up to 10 years. Anderson has said he thinks Couch and his mother may have fled in late November, in the days after the video emerged online and shortly after Couch attended a mandatory meeting with his probation officer.
IS COUCH'S MOTHER FACING CHARGES?
Terry Grisham, spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, has said investigators haven't confirmed whether Tonya Couch fled with her son and he declined to say whether she's facing any charges.
WHERE IS COUCH'S FATHER?
Anderson says Couch's father, Fred Couch, told investigators that he hasn't heard from his son or ex-wife in about two weeks.
WHY WASN'T COUCH ALREADY IN PRISON FOR KILLING FOUR PEOPLE?
In June 2013 at age 16, Couch was driving drunk and speeding on a dark two-lane road near Fort Worth when he crashed into a disabled SUV off to the side, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in his pickup truck. Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury. Because of his age, he wasn't certified as an adult for trial and a judge sentenced him in juvenile court to 10 years' probation and a stint in a rehabilitation center.
Anderson and others have criticized the decision by the judge not to incarcerate the teen. The sheriff says Couch has never expressed remorse for his actions and his case sparked more outrage than any other Anderson has encountered in his law enforcement career.
WHAT IS 'AFFLUENZA'?
During the sentencing phase of his juvenile court trial, Couch's attorneys relied on a defense expert who argued that Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed affluenza. The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread criticism and ridicule.