There is a manhunt for parents of the Michigan high school shooting suspect, but two attorneys say they are not fleeing - CNN
Dec 04, 2021 4 mins, 1 sec

But in another twist, two attorneys who say they represent the couple released a statement saying the Crumbleys had left town for their safety and are returning for an 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," the statement from attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman said.

Undersheriff Michael McCabe told CNN a sergeant with the county's fugitive task force had spoken with one of the attorneys, who said she had not talked with the parents.

The undersheriff said he is confident the couple will be found, and it's a "matter of when."

Sheriff Michael Bouchard earlier told CNN that law enforcement had not talked with James and Jennifer Crumbley, but their attorney had told officials if there were charges she would make arrangements for them to be arrested.

US Marshals and the FBI are involved in the search for the Crumbleys, according to Bouchard.

"The USMS Detroit Fugitive Apprehension team is working in conjunction with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office on the search," the agency said in a tweet.

The sheriff's office released a statement which said the Crumbleys might be driving a black 2021 Kia Seltos with the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203.

Page Pate, a Georgia criminal defense attorney, cautioned the parents might not be on the run.

"I have been in this position before, representing someone who's just been charged with a crime," Pate told CNN.

I don't want to go to jail,' and you try to find someone else," he said.

In this rare instance of charging parents, prosecutors will try to prove the parents of suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley were criminally negligent and contributed to a dangerous situation that resulted in the deaths of four teenagers Tuesday.

"It's been a devastating week for us," Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said at a press conference.

His son Ethan was with him and later posted on social media about the gun, calling it "my new beauty."

Jennifer Crumbley also posted about the gun on social media, calling it "his new Christmas present," McDonald said.

The mother took Ethan to a shooting range the weekend before the shooting, a law enforcement source told CNN Friday.

As of Friday evening, CNN could not get in touch with employees at the shooting range the source thinks the pair visited, or the listed business owner.

The sheriff as said the boy could not legally own the gun or carry it to most places -- with rare exceptions such as shooting ranges.

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with terrorism, murder and other counts in the rampage north of Detroit that also left seven people wounded.

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent and, yes, there was a perfectly executed response, and he was apprehended immediately, and we have great law enforcement and good training.

"But as I said before, four kids were murdered, and then seven more injured, so, yes, I think we should all be very angry."

Prosecutor outlines a chilling progression of events

McDonald said a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching ammunition on his cell phone during class the day before the shooting and reported it to school officials.

You have to learn not to get caught.' End quote," McDonald said.

The day of the shooting, a teacher found a note on Ethan Crumbley's desk that alarmed her so much she took a picture of it on her phone, McDonald said.

Neither parent asked their son to see the gun or "inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun which he had with him," according to McDonald.

The parents left school and the boy was sent back to class.

When news broke about the shooting, according to McDonald, Jennifer Crumbley sent her son a text: "Ethan, don't do it." James Crumbley called 911 to report a gun was missing and his son might be the shooter.

And yes, his parents were on campus November 30th."

There is a "strong possibility" Crumbley had the gun he allegedly used in the shooting in his backpack during the meeting, McDonald told CNN Thursday night.

The school's video surveillance cameras will let investigators "really map out exactly and literally watch what the perpetrator did" from that meeting through the shooting and being taken into custody, Bouchard, the Oakland County sheriff, told CNN on Friday morning.

The shooter had the gun "on his person or in his backpack or somehow secreted" it away from a school location, he said.

Another warning sign had come Monday -- the day before the shooting -- when a different teacher "saw and heard something that she felt was disturbing" related to Crumbley's conduct in the classroom, Bouchard said.

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