Ethan Crumbley’s parents James and Jennifer Crumbley were caught hiding in a commercial building in Detroit, MI in the early hours of Dec. 4 and held on a $500,000 bond each after they were changed with manslaughter for the deaths of four of Ethan’s classmates, who were killed in Detroit’s Oxford High School shooting on November 30, ABC News reports. Hours after they were captured, they entered not guilty pleas to each of the four counts they’re being charged with over a hearing held on Zoom, and a judge was reportedly weighing arguments on whether or not they should be released on bond.
James and Jennifer were found in a commercial building that housed artwork, Detroit Police Chief James E. White said in a press conference, the outlet further reported, and they were scheduled to be arraigned on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Although the Crumbleys’ lawyer, Shannon Smith said that they left town “for their own safety” on Friday, White seemed to suggest this wasn’t the case. “This isn’t indicative of turning yourself in — hiding in a warehouse,” White reportedly said before adding that the couple “were aided in getting into the building,” and the person who helped them may also face charges.
Before James and Jennifer’s capture, a Detroit business owner spotted a car connected to them in his parking lot on late Friday, Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement. When the business owner called 911 a woman near the vehicle ran away and the couple was later found and arrested by police. McCabe also said that the parents seemed “distressed” when they were captured and one had their “Head down… just very upset.”
James and Jennifer were expected to be booked into the Oakland County Jail, McCabe also added.
During a press conference announcing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Ethan’s parents, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald explained why the shooter’s parents had been charged. Included in her details were that James had bought the 9-millimeter semiautomatic gun while his son was present, via CNN. She also pointed out Ethan’s social media posts with the gun that he went on to use in the shooting. The prosecutor also referenced a social media post Jennifer had made with a photo of her son, where she said they were “testing out his new Christmas present.” She also mentioned that school officials had reached out to Ethan’s parents after he was caught searching for ammunition on a school computer the day before the shooting. Neither responded to the school, but a text from Jennifer to Ethan revealed that she hadn’t taken the school’s report seriously. “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” the prosecutor read the text.
Other than the social media posts, Karen described a disturbing photo that the shooter drew on the morning of the tragedy. Ethan was reported to the school and taken to a counselor. She mentioned that the school required him to be placed in counseling within 48 hours. The prosecutor noted that neither parent tried to find out if he had his gun on him nor tried to remove him from school for the day. The prosecutor revealed that after the news of the shooting came out, Jennifer texted her son to tell him not to shoot.
Prior to their capture, local law enforcement announced that the parents were not at home when they went to find them, and they were being searched for by U.S. Marshalls and the FBI, according to The New York Times. The Crumbleys’ lawyer said they’d left as a safety precaution and would return.