Police still searching for parents of suspected Oxford High School shooter

James, Jennifer Crumbley facing involuntary manslaughter charges

Jennifer and James Crumbley (WDIV)

OXFORD, Mich – Police are still searching for the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter after a prosecutor issued involuntary manslaughter charges against them on Friday.

UPDATE Friday evening: Parents of suspected Oxford High School shooter returning to face arraignment, lawyer says

James Robert Crumbley and Jennifer Lynn Crumbley are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter after police say their son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, killed four students Tuesday (Nov. 30) at Oxford High School. A “be on the lookout” alert went out to law enforcement at 3 p.m. Friday.

“We have a host of detectives out, including our partners with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “If they think they’re going to not come with their attorney, but going to run, we’re going to remedy that.”

“We have our Fugitive Apprehension Team, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service and others actively looking for them and have every expectation we’ll have them in custody soon,” Bouchard said in a statement. “The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy.”

The couple may be driving a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203.

Anyone with information about the couple’s whereabouts should call the Sheriff’s Office at 248- 858-4911.

James Robert Crumbley (WDIV)
Jennifer Lynn Crumbley (WDIV)
Photo of a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV. (WDIV)

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The charges against the parents were issued Friday, and Judge Julie Nicholson approved a warrant to take the pair into custody.

She said the pair would be arraigned at 4 p.m. Friday if they were taken into custody in time, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

“The attorney, this morning, told us if charges were issued, and at that point, they had not (been), that she would make arrangements to have them arrested,” Bouchard said.

He doesn’t believe James and Jennifer Crumbley are armed, but he doesn’t think anyone should take any chances.

“Anything’s possible,” Bouchard said. “I would not encourage anybody to approach them. I think it would be unlikely (that they are armed), but we’re not going to take that chance. We’re going to go get them.”

“Every available resources that is there is happening. It’s going on right now.”

Bouchard said it’s certainly possible the couple could try to leave Michigan, considering their actions so far.

“Given that their attorney said that they would handle this if charges were issued, and now they’re not responding to the attorney -- it certainly is indicative of their intent to flee, which is certainly something we plan to stop very short,” Bouchard said.

He said he’s not worried about James and Jennifer Crumbley destroying evidence because police already executed a search warrant and gathered what they need.

Bouchard offered a message to the public on CNN:

“If they know where they are, or they see them, please call 9-1-1. Don’t approach them. Intuitively, I don’t think that they’d be dangerous to the public, but I wouldn’t take that for granted, and we’re going to find them. If the public could help, that’d be great.”

Details emerge in court

During court proceedings, Oakland County Lt. Tim Willis provided details about the potential involvement of both James and Jennifer Crumbley.

He said Jennifer Crumbley received a voicemail from the school Monday after a teacher saw Ethan Crumbley looking up ammunition during class.

“Jennifer Crumbley exchanged text messages about the incident with her son, where she stated, ‘LOL I’m not mad. You have to learn not to get caught,’” Willis said.

Both parents were called to the school at 10 a.m. Tuesday, just three hours before the shooting, to discuss a concerning note and drawing a teacher found on their son’s desk.

“The morning of the shooting, Ethan Crumbley’s teacher came upon a note on Ethan’s desk, which alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her phone,” Willis said. “The note contained the following: a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointed at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet: ‘Blood everywhere.’ Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is the drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is the drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless,’ and to the right of those words are, ‘The world is dead.’”

According to Willis, the parents were told to get Ethan Crumbley into counseling within 48 hours, but they resisted the idea of their son leaving school at that time.

“Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask Ethan 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,” Willis said.

Willis said that when news of the active shooter at Oxford High School became public, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son at 1:22 p.m., “Ethan, don’t do it.”

At 1:37 p.m., James Crumbley called 9-1-1 to report that a gun was missing from his house and he believed his son might be the shooter, according to authorities.

“Further investigation revealed that the Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun purchased by James Crumbley was stored, unlocked in a drawer in James and Jennifer’s bedroom,” Willis said. “The gun recovered from Ethan Crumbley after the shooting was the same gun that was purchased by James Crumbley on 11/26/21 in the presence of Ethan.”

The shooting left four students dead and seven people injured, officials said. Ethan Crumbley is facing four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is being charged as an adult.

About the Authors:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.