The lawyers for the parents of the Oxford High teenager charged in Tuesday's school shooting said Friday that James and Jennifer Crumbley are returning to the area to be arraigned on charges of involuntary manslaughter.
The Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team was searching Friday for the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old Oxford High sophomore charged with first-degree murder of four students and other criminal charges, after county Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the couple had stopped responding to their attorney.
"On Thursday night, we contacted the Oakland County prosecutor to discuss this matter and to advise her that James and Jennifer Crumbley would be turning themselves in to be arraigned," lawyers Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman told The Detroit News. "Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges."
"The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports."
James and Jennifer Crumbley of Oxford were named in criminal warrants Friday, with each being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of four Oxford High School students who were allegedly slain by their son. They also were named in a noon press conference held by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald to announce the charges.
Their case is charged in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills, and an arraignment is tentatively set for 4 p.m. Friday.
“Their attorney had assured us that if a decision was made to charge them, she would produce them for arrest,” McCabe said Friday.
That agreement with attorney Smith was sometime in the morning, McCabe said around 2 p.m. Friday.
“Our last conversation with the attorney was that she had been trying to reach them by phone and text, and they were not responding,” he said.
McCabe said Fugitive Apprehension Team officers were out searching for the couple as of mid-afternoon Friday. The Crumbleys own a 2021 black Kia Seltos with the license plate DQG5203 and a 2019 white Kia Soul Station Wagon with the license plate DZH8994, according to the sheriff's office and Secretary of State records.
The stunning details McDonald described Friday from the forthcoming criminal complaint against the parents reveal the Crumbleys not only bought the gun for their son, but failed to secure it, leaving it in an unlocked drawer of their bedroom.
Jennifer Crumbley and her son both appeared to brag about the new gun in various social media posts McDonald cited. Shortly after his father bought the gun, Ethan Crumbley posted a photo of it to his Instagram page writing a caption interspersed with heart emoji that read, “just got my new beauty today, Sig Sauer nine millimeter. Any questions I will answer.”
Jennifer Crumbley captioned a post of her own on social media that read: “Mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.” McDonald told The Washington Post that the post was a reference to a visit the two made to a gun range.
But officials at Oxford High School first raised concerns about Ethan Crumbley’s behavior days before the gun was even purchased: On Nov. 21, a teacher noticed Crumbley using his cellphone to search for information on firearm ammunition. Jennifer Crumbley did not respond when the school contacted via voice mail about her son’s “inappropriate” search, McDonald said.
Instead, she exchanged a text message with her son that read, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”