Police are searching for the parents of the 15-year-old suspect in Tuesday’s deadly school shooting in Michigan, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department said, hours after they were charged with involuntary manslaughter — but the couple’s attorneys told a local newspaper they plan to turn themselves in.
The sheriff’s department said detectives are searching for James and Jennifer Crumbley after they stopped communicating with their lawyer hours ahead of their arraignment, which was scheduled for 4 p.m.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced earlier Friday the Crumbleys had each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the county’s Fugitive Apprehension Team, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service are assisting with the search, and he told CNN “If they think they are going to get away, they are not.”
The Crumbley’s attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press the couple is not on the run and will turn themselves in, saying that they left the area days ago “for their own safety.”
The couple may be driving a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with a Michigan license plate of DQG5203, according to the sheriff’s office.
Their 15-year-old son, Ethan Crumbley, was charged earlier this week with two dozen crimes — including four counts of first-degree murder and one terrorism charge — for his alleged role in Tuesday’s attack which left four students dead and seven others, including one teacher, injured.
Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire Tuesday at Oxford High School, located about 35 miles north of Detroit. Bouchard said earlier this week Ethan’s father legally purchased the 9mm Sig Sauer handgun involved in the shooting four days before the attack. McDonald said in a press conference that hours before the shooting, Crumbley’s parents were called to the school after a teacher found a note on his desk depicting a semiautomatic handgun, with the words, “the thoughts won’t stop, help me.” His parents left the school without their child, and McDonald said they “failed to ask” if their son had the gun or where the gun was, and “failed to inspect” his backpack before leaving the school without him.
Under Michigan law, prosecutors can pursue an involuntary manslaughter charge if they believe a person contributed to a situation where harm or death occurred. If convicted of the charges, the couple could face up to 15 years in prison.