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Michigan police sheriff doubts that parents of school shooter were planning to surrender to police 

Hours after the arrest of Ethan Crumbley’s parents in a warehouse in Detroit, mile from the Canadian border, Oakland County sheriff Michael Bouchard expressed doubts that they were planning an imminent surrender as their lawyers had insisted. 

‘Obviously finding them in a building in Detroit doesn’t lend itself to cooperation,’ the sheriff told DailyMail.com Saturday morning, a day after law enforcement issued a ‘be on the lookout’ alert for police to hunt down the ‘fugitive parents’ charged in connection with the Oxford High School deaths. 

Their lawyers, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, still insist they weren’t hiding.

‘We understand that our clients were apprehended last night although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media,’ they said in a statement to DailyMail.com.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were taken into custody early Saturday morning after leading authorities on a large-scale manhunt.  

The Crumbleys were captured in the basement of a building on the 1100 block of Bellevue Street in Detroit. Law enforcement sources say the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM before driving to their hideout.  

Jennifer Crumbley

James (left) and Jennifer Crumbley (right) were booked into the Oakland County Jail early Saturday morning after they were arrested in Detroit less than a mile from the Canadian border. The couple led authorities on a large-scale manhunt after fleeing involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the deadly school shooting said to be perpetrated by their son 

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard doubts that James and Jennifer planned to turn themselves into the police on Saturday morning as their legal team claims

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard doubts that James and Jennifer planned to turn themselves into the police on Saturday morning as their legal team claims

James and Jennifer Crumbley were the target of a federal manhunt; US Marshals placed a $10,000 bounty on information leading to their arrest after they were charged with involuntary manslaughter on Friday 

James and Jennifer were found nearly 12 hours after the 4 p.m. deadline to surrender to police.  

The sheriff said he’s happy the Crumbleys will finally face justice for their role in Tuesday’s school shooting – the deadliest in the U.S. since 2018. 

The violent attack claimed the lives of Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven more people were injured. Three were in hospitals in stable condition.

‘It was obvious they were aware he had unfettered access to this weapon,’ Bouchard told DailyMail.com. ‘And even more concerning that when news of this began to break about the active shooter, that they immediately thought of their son potentially as the perpetrator.’

When asked whether he thinks the parents knew in advance that the shooting was going to happen, he replied, ‘I don’t think it specifically means they knew it was going to happen. But they certainly knew it was something that was a possibility and something that they were aware of, certainly in light of the discussion they had the day of the shooting and when they had left him at the school.’ 

He noted the parents spent the night in separate cells at the county jail, pending this morning’s arraignment being conducted through a live video feed. 

The sheriff noted the investigation into the attack remains open and that authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility of additional charges, including against school officials for failing to report the threat, even after holding an emergency meeting with the teen and his parents the day of the shooting.

‘Obviously, in hindsight, I think it’s clear to everyone they should have (notified us),’ he said.

‘That will still be part of a lot of future investigations and proceedings, I’m sure,’ he added. ‘That ultimately will be a charging decision for the prosecutor based on everything we gather.’  

Ethan Crumbley, 15, is seen in his booking photo released by Oakland County sheriff's office

At an arraignment in Pontiac, Michigan, on Wednesday Crumbley sat mute, masked and suited in a heavy suicide-prevention vest, while attorneys and his parents joined in by video conference.

Ethan, 15, is seen in his booking photo released by Oakland County sheriff’s office and wearing a heavy suicide-prevention vest at his arraignment hearing in Pontiac on Wednesday

James, 45, (top left) and Jennifer, 43, (top center) Crumbley were each granted a $500,000 bond, which must be paid in full

James, 45, (top left) and Jennifer, 43, (top center) Crumbley were each granted a $500,000 bond, which must be paid in full

Police were led to the commercial building, where the Crumbleys appeared to be hiding, by a tip from a Detroit business owner and were captured on video going inside, Detroit Police Chief James White said early Saturday morning. 

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said a woman was spotted near the vehicle and ran away when the business owner called police. White also said the two did not break in and were helped by an unnamed accomplice who let them into the building.

Their arrest was without incident and came after the U.S. Marshals offered a $10,000 bounty for information leading to their capture when they fled Friday after involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the school massacre perpetrated by their son were announced. 

After the Crumbleys were arrested, Chief White announced that charges are likely to be connected to the person who appeared to aid James and Jennifer hide from police but confessed that much more investigating will need to be conducted. 

‘At this point, I would say we don’t have a complete handle on that in terms of all the information and interviews that have to be done. Literally, we’ve been doing thousands of interviews. We have thousands of pieces of evidence we have to go through and process.’

On Friday night, hours after a 4pm deadline for their surrender, police in Detroit discovered the couple's abandoned black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV (above in a photo brightened for visibility) on the east side of Detroit

On Friday night, hours after a 4pm deadline for their surrender, police in Detroit discovered the couple’s abandoned black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV (above in a photo brightened for visibility) on the east side of Detroit

The Crumbley parents were in custody after a manhunt in Detroit in the early hours of Saturday following the discovery of the black Kia SUV that was of interest to police. Pictured: Police search a building of interest near the Kia

The Crumbley parents were in custody after a manhunt in Detroit in the early hours of Saturday following the discovery of the black Kia SUV that was of interest to police. Pictured: Police search a building of interest near the Kia

The abandoned Kia (right) was reported to police by a tipster in the area who noted it matched the description

The abandoned Kia (right) was reported to police by a tipster in the area who noted it matched the description 

The Crumbley parents were taken into custody after a manhunt in Detroit in the early hours of Saturday following the discovery of the black Kia SUV that was of interest to police

The Crumbley parents were taken into custody after a manhunt in Detroit in the early hours of Saturday following the discovery of the black Kia SUV that was of interest to police

It has been revealed that on the morning of the shooting, a teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk, which featured disturbing drawings depicting a semi-automatic gun, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.

According to the prosecutor, the note included the words ‘blood everywhere,’ ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me,’ ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead.’

Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school to discuss their son’s worrying behavior. A school counselor was able to obtain the note with the drawings, but Prosecutor Karen McDonald said by then its contents had been ‘altered.’

The doodles of the gun and the bullet-ridden figure were ‘scratched out,’ as well as Ethan’s writings.

During the meeting, the Crumbleys were shown the note and were advised that they were required to get Ethan into counselling within 48 hours.

Justin Shilling died in the hospital

Tate Myre died at the school

Justin Shilling, 17 (left), died in the hospital on Wednesday morning and Tate Myre, 16, (right) died in the school on Tuesday 

Madisyn Baldwin, 17

Hana St Juliana, 14

Madisyn Baldwin, 17 (left), and Hana St Juliana, 14 (right), died in Tuesday’s shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit 

According to the prosecutor, the mother and father failed to ask Ethan if he had his gun with him, or where his gun was, and did not inspect his backpack.

But the parents ‘resisted’ the idea of pulling their son out of school at that time and left without him, McDonald said. This was not the first time school administrators had expressed concern regarding Ethan’s behavior. 

McDonald revealed that Jennifer texted her son about 30 minutes after the rampage saying, ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ and that her husband James called 911 to report that his gun – a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 – was missing and that Ethan was likely the shooter. 

Bouchard said school officials should have notified police about their concern, which may have allowed them to stop the deadly tragedy from taking place. 

‘We are part of these discussions, tragically, every week where we get threats of disturbing behavior or something that rises to the attention of a student or a teacher,’ he continued. ‘And we always ask that we get brought in and informed of that, either sit in on the meeting or immediately following on because it triggers protocols we have.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday afternoon 

‘After we intervene, we always do a follow-up at the home, speak to the parents and see if there’s access to weapons. And if there are, we seize them for safe keeping until things are rendered safe.’

‘We certainly would have done the exact same protocol in this tragedy,’ he said.

Authorities have reported that Ethan took the gun from an unlocked drawer in his parents’ bedroom. 

Prosecutors say the parents bought the gun their son used to kill four as a Christmas present on Black Friday, and failed to secure it after he penned a disturbing note saying ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me.’

The sheriff also criticized the Oakland County prosecutor’s office for failing to notify the sheriff’s office in advance of Friday’s press conference where McDonald announced charges against the parents.

‘Obviously there was a disconnect between the prosecutor’s office and our lead investigator,’ Bouchard said. But he added, ‘We’re moving forward and focusing on holding responsibles accountable.’


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