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Fugitive team searching for parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Mike Martindale, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

PONTIAC, Mich. — The Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team is searching Friday for the parents of an Oxford High teenager charged in Tuesday's school shooting after the couple stopped responding to their attorney, according to authorities.

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 news conference held by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald to announce the charges.

“Their attorney had assured us that if a decision was made to charge them, she would produce them for arrest,” Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said Friday.

That agreement with attorney Shannon 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 still were out searching for the couple as of midafternoon Friday. The Crumbley family owns a 2021 white Kia Seltos with the license plate DQG5203, according to Michigan Secretary of State records.

Their case is charged in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills, and an arraignment was tentatively set for 4 p.m. Friday.

McCabe said a conversation was initiated by the parents' attorney Friday morning when it was announced the prosecutor was holding a news conference to announce whether a decision had been made to charge anyone else in the deaths.

“We didn’t even know they had been charged with anything until we were informed this morning by the media,” McCabe said.


McDonald laid out numerous reasons for her decision, including the father’s purchase of the handgun, which was a Christmas gift for their son, and a meeting at the school in which they were shown a graphic drawing made by their son depicting a shooting victim. Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“I have spoken to (victims’ parents) and indicated what charges were coming,” McDonald said at her Friday noon news conference. “These parents are deep in grief.

“I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents with children who are struggling, for whatever reason,” she added. “But the facts in this case are so egregious. The notion that a parent could read those words, and also know their son had access to a deadly weapon.”

The Crumbleys' son, Ethan, has been charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He faces up to life in prison without parole if convicted.


(Detroit News staff writer James Dickson contributed to this story.)


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