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US Marshals join fugitive team in search for parents of alleged Michigan school shooter

Mike Martindale and James David Dickson, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

PONTIAC, Mich. — The U.S. Marshals and the Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team are searching Friday night for the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old Oxford High sophomore charged with first-degree murder in the slayings of four students in Tuesday's mass shooting.

The search came hours after James and Jennifer Crumbley of Oxford were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of those four students. They also were named in a noon news conference held by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald to announce their charges.

At one point Friday, authorities say each parent had stopped responding to their attorneys.

Several hours after the search began, the couple's lawyers, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, said the husband and wife were returning to the area to be arraigned.

"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," Smith and Lehman told The Detroit News midafternoon Friday. "Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a news 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."


But by Friday evening, federal marshals said they "have adopted the case of the search for James and Jennifer Crumbley" and would be working in conjunction with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office on the search.

The Crumbleys' case is charged in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills, and an arraignment had tentatively been set for 4 p.m. Friday. But the court closed late Friday afternoon without any sighting of the Crumbleys.

“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 earlier Friday.

That agreement with attorney Smith was sometime in the morning, McCabe said around 2 p.m. Friday.


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