The parents of Ethan Crumbley, the suspect in the Oxford High School shooting, were arrested early Saturday in Detroit just hours after police discovered the couple's vehicle, according to officials.
Detroit Police spokesman Rudy Harper told CNN that James and Jennifer Crumbley were found on the first floor of an industrial building on Detroit's east side near where their vehicle was found.
Law enforcement initially said the parents had failed to return phone calls to authorities despite their arraignment, which was set for Friday. After they failed to appear, the couple's lawyers released a statement saying they planned to turn themselves in.
As the evening wore on with still no sign of the Crumbleys or their whereabouts, the U.S. Marshals and the FBI initiated a search and announced a $10,000 bounty for both parents.
OXFORD VIGIL FOR HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIMS ERUPTS IN PANIC AFTER ATTENDEE FAINTS
But, as the night went on, more details emerged about the Crumbleys, including that they withdrew on Friday $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills which is about 10-15 miles out from Oxford, where the high school shooting took place on Tuesday, and it is the same city where they were supposed to show up for their Friday afternoon arraignment, a law enforcement official told CNN.
The same official said law enforcement was tracking the Crumbleys with cellphone pings but could no longer do so because the devices had been turned off.
US Marshals are now offering a $10,000 reward for information about where James and Jennifer Crumbley are -- fugitive parents of accused Oxford High School shooter. pic.twitter.com/9yoG1V6fRG— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) December 4, 2021
Earlier in the day, James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that "the parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons," saying that went "far beyond negligence." The semi-automatic gun used in the shooting was purchased by James Crumbley last week, four days before the shooting, according to authorities.
Ethan Crumbley allegedly killed four students and injured seven other people at Oxford High School in the Detroit suburbs on Tuesday, including a teacher. He was taken into custody and was charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism that resulted in death, seven counts of assault with the intent to kill, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
The teenage suspect appeared at his arraignment Wednesday afternoon via video, and his parents, who observed, identified themselves as Jennifer and James Crumbley. The suspect's lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
This is the booking photo of 15-year old Ethan Crumbley. He’s being charged as an adult for the mass shooting at Oxford High on Tuesday. @clickondetroit @Local4News #OxfordHigh pic.twitter.com/CJtznPVDPA— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryWDIVLocal4) December 2, 2021
The four students who died have been identified as Hanna St. Julian, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17.
Questions have been raised about why McDonald announced the charges before the parents were taken into custody.
In an interview with CNN, McDonald said it was her understanding the parents were under surveillance, though the timeline is unclear, and that her team was in contact with law enforcement.
"The prosecutor's office doesn't arrest people. We were in constant communication with the sheriff's office," she said. "They were surveilling them and we were told they were surveilling them. We were getting updates about the cellphone pinging and they conveyed to us that they were confident where the two people were."
BREAKING: Sheriff’s detectives say they are looking for “fugitive parents” of Ethan Crumbley, the accused Oxford High School shooter.— Nancy Chen (@NancyChenNews) December 3, 2021
Jennifer and James Crumbley are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
May be driving black Kia SUV: DQG 5203. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/BOuqWB5yP5
Bouchard told CNN in an earlier interview with CNN that a lawyer to Jennifer and James Crumbley informed authorities they have not returned calls as detectives were instructed to find them after McDonald announced the charges.
"Given that their attorney said they would handle this if charges were issued, and now they’re not responding to the attorney, certainly is indicative [of] their intent to flee, which is something we plan to stop very shortly," he said, adding that it's unlikely they are armed.
The attorneys for the Crumbleys, Smith and Mariell Lehman, released a statement to the Detroit Free Press saying their clients would return to the area to be arraigned.
"The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety," the attorneys said in the statement. "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. 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."
A statement from Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, “The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy."
Jennifer and James Crumbley are now fugitives. pic.twitter.com/0uva047Qa4— Cara TXZEAL (@Cara_TXZEAL) December 3, 2021
The two were not under surveillance until last night when the chances of them being charged increased, Bouchard said.
McDonald said she does not know exactly how the parents evaded law enforcement following the press conference.
"This isn't a perfect science. I'm not in law enforcement, and there are a lot of things that they don't disclose to the public," she told CNN. "But it's possible to evade for some period of time but that doesn't mean anyone did anything wrong."
In a press conference Friday, McDonald said a few days before the shooting took place, on Nov. 26, Ethan Crumbley took to social media and posted photos of a pistol his father purchased with a caption that read, “Just got my new beauty today."
James Crumley took Ethan Crumbley with him when he purchased the gun. The following day, Jennifer Crumbley also went on social media and posted, “Mom and son day, testing out his new X-mas present."
The prosecutor also revealed text messages that were found on Jennifer Crumbley's phone that said, "Don't do it," when she learned there was an active shooter on the campus.
A separate text to Crumbley from his mother said she was not mad at him but mentioned he would "have to learn not to get caught," according to Lt. Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
School officials said they met with Crumbley and his parents the morning before the shooting because of "disturbing" behavior. However, no disciplinary action was needed, according to Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne.
"There's been a lot of talk about the student that was apprehended. That he was, you know, called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted. There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes, this student did have contact with our front office. And yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30," Throne said.
Ethan Crumbley was allegedly called to the principal's office Tuesday when a teacher found a drawing he'd done of a handgun. There was also text next to the drawing that read, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me," according to McDonald.
No motive for the shooting has been released. However, McDonald believes there is enough evidence to prove the attack was premeditated. Records from Ethan Crumbley's phone allegedly show that he was talking about shooting students at the school in a video made the night before.
Another recent piece of evidence was a journal in his backpack in which he allegedly wrote about shooting people at the school, including killing some students.
It is not clear how much the parents knew about the videos or the journal, but James Crumbley immediately went to find his gun when he heard of a possible shooter at his son's high school. When he discovered it was missing, he called 911 to tell them his son could be the shooter.
McDonald argued to CNN that this new evidence showed the parents should be held criminally responsible for what happened.
"They sat there knowing that looking at those drawings and also knowing that they purchased a gun for their son, given it to him, allowed him access, he acted as if it were his own," she said. "Instead, they resisted taking him home and insisted that he should go back to class."
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald says she does not know the location of the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the suspect in the Michigan high school shooting, but says she is "confident they will be apprehended swiftly." pic.twitter.com/HRN4zAj3Xd— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) December 4, 2021
McDonald told CNN she was not surprised that the parents did not show up for their arraignment given the evidence against them.
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"I think it isn't actually surprising given what's now been revealed," she said. "There was a piece of evidence that really showed their culpability here, and based on that, it doesn't really surprise me that they won't stand up and follow the court order."