The search for the Michigan school shooting suspect's parents

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 6:02 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021
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4:25 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Suspect's parents did not flee and are returning soon, their attorneys say

From CNN’s Carolyn Sung and Mark Morales

Two attorneys working with Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the Michigan school shooting suspect, say the couple left town on the night of the shooting “for their own safety” and are not fleeing.

"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. Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges," attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman said in a statement.

"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," the attorneys added.

If the Crumbleys are not taken into custody and in court by 4:30 p.m., there will be no arraignment today, according to court administrator Amy Luce.

If they are taken into custody tomorrow, there could be an arraignment from Oakland County jail, as there will be no one at the courthouse tomorrow, Luce said.

3:51 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Officials believe the parents are traveling in a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the 15-year-old charged with murder in Tuesday's school shooting in Michigan, may be driving in a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV, the Oakland County Sheriff’s office announced.

The Crumbleys, who are missing, were charged Friday with four counts each of homicide involuntary manslaughter following the deadly school shooting. Their son is accused of killing four fellow students at the Oxford High School Tuesday.

Their car has the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203, officials said.

Earlier today, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard cautioned people against approaching the missing couple if they spot them.

When asked if Bouchard is concerned the couple may be armed, he acknowledged “anything is possible."

Every available resource is dedicated to locating them, the sheriff said.

3:43 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Michigan authorities ask for public's help in finding suspect's parents

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has released images of Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the Michigan school shooting suspect, as well as the vehicle they may be driving: a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203.

“The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement.

They were each charged earlier Friday with four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter.

3:39 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

US Marshals and FBI are involved in search for Ethan Crumbley’s parents, sheriff says

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

Crumbley's patents are seen via a video call during their son's arraignment on December 1.
Crumbley's patents are seen via a video call during their son's arraignment on December 1. (WDIV)

When asked if Ethan Crumbley’s parents are missing, Oakland County, Michigan, Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN that is “correct.”

“If they think they are going to get away, they are not,” Bouchard told CNN's Victor Blackwell Friday.

Bouchard said officers are working with FBI partners and the US Marshal Service. CNN has reached out to both for comment.

The Crumbleys’ attorney was working with law enforcement to make themselves available for arrest once charges were announced, according to the sheriff, who added that the couple is no longer communicating with the attorney.

“It’s indicative their intent to flee,” Bouchard said.

When asked if Bouchard is concerned the couple may be armed, he acknowledged “anything is possible,” and he cautioned people should not approach the couple.

Every available resource is dedicated to locating them, the sheriff said.

The couple were not under surveillance until “it got closer to last night,” when charges were pending and detectives began the process of monitoring them. There was no early surveillance on them prior because no charges were pending.

Bouchard could not answer if the couple was in Michigan when they appeared by video during their son's arraignment earlier this week.

When asked about the exact time his department last knew the location of the Crumbleys, the sheriff said, "I'd have to actually talk to the detectives to find out where they last communicated with them or where they last had them. I mean, this obviously just recently happened."

3:12 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Police are searching for Michigan school shooting suspect's parents

Police are currently searching for Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley’s parents just hours before they are scheduled to be arraigned on involuntary manslaughter charges, according to authorities.

The county prosecutor said his father bought the gun four days before it was used in the shooting. The suspect was with him and later posted on social media about the gun, calling it "my new beauty."

1:20 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

"I am angry": Prosecutor says simple things could have prevented Michigan school shooting

From CNN's Elise Hammond

(Carlos Osorio/AP)
(Carlos Osorio/AP)

In the wake of the school shooting at Oxford High School, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said she is angry.

"I am angry. I'm angry as a mother, as the prosecutor, I'm angry as a person that lives in this county," she said, at a news conference where she announced charges against the parents of the suspected shooter.

She said that while there was a "perfectly executed response" by the school during the active shooting event, there were a lot of simple things that could have prevented the tragedy from happening.

"We have great law enforcement and good training, but I said before, four kids were murdered and seven more injured. So yes, I think we should all be very angry and we should take a very hard look at what is in place in terms of criminal responsibility, what gun owners are required to do," McDonald said.

She said, "I am not here to say that people shouldn't own guns." McDonald added that she hopes that the involuntary manslaughter charges send a message about the responsibility of gun ownership.

"It's your responsibility, it's your duty to make sure that you don't give access to this deadly weapon to somebody that you have reason to believe is going to harm someone," McDonald said.

She added that looking at the evidence uncovered in the investigation so far, it's the prosecutions position that "it's impossible not to conclude that there was a reason to believe that he was going to hurt somebody."

2:53 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor outlines timeline leading to charges against Michigan school shooting suspect's parents

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph and Adrienne Vogt

During a Friday news conference, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald detailed events leading up to charges of involuntary manslaughter against the parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley.

McDonald called the actions of the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, "egregious," saying that "gun owners have a responsibility."

Four students died in Tuesday's shooting.

Here's a timeline of how the events unfolded, according to the prosecutor:

  • Nov. 26: Ethan Crumbley's father, James Crumbley, purchased a gun with his son present. 
  • On or about Nov. 26: Ethan Crumbley posted photos of a semi-automatic gun on social media with a caption: “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm.”
  • On or about Nov. 27: Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan Crumbley's mother, made a social media post that read, “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.”
  • Nov. 29: A teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone and reported that information to school officials. His parents did not reply when the school attempted to contact them. Later, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged texts with Ethan stating, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
  • Nov. 30: On the morning of the shooting, Ethan’s teacher came across a note that “alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her cell phone.” The note contained “a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words ‘the thoughts won’t stop. help me.’" Also included in the note was a drawing of a bullet with “blood everywhere” written above it. Between the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding with a laughing emoji under it. The note also has “my life is useless” and “the world is dead” scrawled on it.
  • The parents were “immediately summoned to the school." A school counselor removed Ethan from class with his backpack and obtained the note, but the drawings of the gun, bloody figure and writings were all “altered.” At the meeting with school officials, his parents were shown the drawing and were told they had to submit their son to counseling within 48 hours. His parents did not ask the whereabouts of the gun and did not to inspect his backpack for the gun which he had with him, according to McDonald. His parents “resisted” the idea of taking Ethan out of school and left without him.

Read more about the charges against the parents here.

12:51 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor: Suspect's parents left school without son after being told of his behavior morning of shooting

Oakland County, Michigan, Prosecutor Karen McDonald outlined some of the key events that took place on the day of the shooting.

A teacher of shooting suspect, Ethan Crumbley, found a note on his desk on the morning of the shooting that "alarmed her to the point she took a picture of it on her cell phone."

She said the note included a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words, "the thoughts won't stop, help me." The note also included a section with a drawing of a bullet with the words "blood everywhere."

The parents of the suspect "were immediately summoned" to the school, McDonald said. The prosecutor noted that the suspect altered the note before it was retrieved by a counselor.

"At the meeting James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get the — their son into counseling within 48 hours," she said.

The prosecutor said the parents "failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun which he had with him."

The parents resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time and they left the school without him, she added. He was returned to the classroom.

1:50 p.m. ET, December 3, 2021

Prosecutor on why she filed charges against suspect's parents: "The facts of this case are so egregious"

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald explained why she decided to file charges against the parents.

"I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents who have children struggling," she said Friday at a news conference. "I am, by no means, saying that an active shooter situation should always result in a criminal prosecution against parents. But the facts of this case are so egregious."

She added: "This doesn't just impact me as a prosecutor and lawyer, it impacts me as a mother. 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. And I think it's criminal."