Parents of Michigan high school shooter arrested after manhunt

Detroit, Michigan – A manhunt for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the 15-year-old shooter at Oxford High School, has come to a close with their arrest early Saturday morning.

US Marshals issued Wanted posters for James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday, as they disappeared in connection with their son Ethan's (inset) crimes of shooting and killing students at his high school.
US Marshals issued Wanted posters for James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday, as they disappeared in connection with their son Ethan's (inset) crimes of shooting and killing students at his high school.  © Screetshot/Twitter/UUSMarshalsHQ & Screenshot/Oakland County Sheriff's Office

Michigan law enforcement had been searching for the Crumbleys, who had been on the run since about 12 PM CT on Friday, after their son Ethan brought a gun they purchased to Oxford High School. The parents have been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

Ethan killed four students and wounded seven more on Tuesday with the firearm that was bought on Black Friday as a Christmas present and kept in an unlocked drawer, according to Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald. The teen remains in custody and has been charged as an adult with murder and terrorism.

His parents disappeared outside of Detroit for hours after not appearing at their arraignment Friday afternoon. US Marshals offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrests when a citizen later saw their vehicle parked outside a commercial building and called police around 11:30 PM.

"They are both in custody and will be on the way to the Oakland County Jail soon," confirmed Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe after arresting the two hours later.

The couple's lawyers said they were escaping the area "for their own safety" due to the attention surrounding the case, but previously admitted the pair had stopped responding to messages after being charged.

"The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said on Friday. "If they think they're going to get away, they're not ... They cannot run from their part in this tragedy."

The parents are now in custody

James and Jennifer Crumbley are now in custody.
James and Jennifer Crumbley are now in custody.  © Screenshot/Facebook/OCSOMichigan

The Crumbleys were called to Oxford High School the morning of the shooting in response to a drawing their son made of a firearm and the words "blood everywhere," McDonald confirmed.

"The thoughts won't stop. Help me," he wrote. "My life is useless ... The world is dead."

Ethan was allowed to return to class following the meeting after an official recommended he begin counseling within 48 hours. Just a few hours later, he killed multiple students.

"The notion that a parent could read those words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon that they gave him is unconscionable. It's criminal," the prosecutor said, adding the parents' actions go "far beyond negligence."

Jennifer Crumbley did not initially respond to a school official who left her a voicemail and email about Ethan researching ammunition while at school on Monday. She instead texted her son: "LOL I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught."

Further investigation also confirmed the 15-year-old shared a photo of his new gun online, writing, "Just got my new beauty today." Over the weekend, his mother posted they were having "mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present".

After reports of the shooting surfaced on Tuesday, Jennifer texted her son: "Ethan, don't do it."

In the days since, there have been multiple threats of violence at high schools in the surrounding Michigan area. A 17-year-old was arrested on Thursday, just 30 miles from Oxford High School, with a semi-automatic weapon.

A possible arraignment for James and Jennifer Crumbley is expected after 9 AM CT on Saturday.

Cover photo: Screenshot/Facebook/OCSOMichigan

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