Manhunt Launched After Parents Of School Shooting Suspect Ethan Crumbley Vanish
A search was launched Friday after the parents of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley failed to turn up for their own arraignment on charges of involuntary manslaughter.
James and Jennifer Crumbley vanished after Michigan’s Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced Friday that they would each be charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for the four students their 15-year-old son allegedly shot to death on Tuesday. The shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township also wounded seven other people.
The teen was charged as an adult on Wednesday with murder, attempted murder and terrorism causing death.
McDonald said at a press conference that the teen’s parents ignored serious warning signs about their son and failed to secure a firearm in their home.
Hours before the shooting, a teacher discovered an extremely disturbing drawing by Ethan Crumbley showing a person who had been shot and a handgun, McDonald said. His parents were summoned to the school and told to take their child to counseling. Instead, they sent him back to class, she added.
The Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team launched a search effort Friday after the charges against the elder Crumbleys were announced, and the couple’s attorney reportedly told Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe she’d been unable to contact her clients.
“Our last conversation with the attorney was that she had been trying to reach them by phone and text, and they were not responding,” McCabe told The Detroit News.
The Crumbleys’ arraignment was scheduled for Friday but they were still missing by the end of the day, CNN reported.
During a hearing that started at noon before Judge Julie Nicholson, a lieutenant with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said the couple was not in the custody of authorities, reported the Detroit Free Press.
A law enforcement official told CNN that the parents withdrew $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills in Michigan on Friday. Rochester is about 12 miles from Oxford.
McCabe referred in a statement to the “fugitive parents” of Ethan Crumbley on Friday afternoon and said the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service were involved in the search for them. The sheriff’s office also issued a “Be On the Lookout Alert” with photos of the couple and their car.
Two attorneys who said they’re representing the Crumbleys had insisted that their clients had left town for their safety and would return for arraignment.
“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,” said a statement from lawyers Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman. “They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports.”
But after the couple failed to turn up, McCabe said the Crumbleys’ “action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy,” he added.