A woman who shares a son with James Crumbley slammed him and his wife Jennifer hours before the fugitive couple was arrested near the Canadian border – after they were hit with involuntary manslaughter charges in the Michigan school shooting perpetrated by their son Ethan Crumbley.
Ex-girlfriend Michelle Cobb, who has an 18-year-old son with James, accused him of being a deadbeat dad who ditched their family to marry Jennifer, and said both Crumbleys made life a misery.
‘He’s a piece of s**t. He really is,’ Cobb told WXYZ-TV on Friday, recounting how James left their son as well as a daughter he had with another woman in Florida when he left the state with Jennifer.
‘Jennifer was a monster.’ Cobb said. ‘She could do no wrong and she was right about everything. I mean, this is exactly the kind of attitude she has. Like, she, literally, thought she was better than everyone.’
James and Jennifer Crumbley withdrew $4,000 from an ATM and disappeared, failing to meet a 4pm deadline to surrender when charges against them were announced earlier in the day. The US Marshals offered a $10,000 reward for information before the couple was found hiding in the basement of a building in Detroit.
Their attorney had said they planned to return to face the charges in court, but their Kia SUV was found parked in Detroit near where they were arrested. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
‘I hope they get the maximum, honestly, all of them. They deserve it,’ said Cobb. ‘They need to be held accountable for what their child did. They need to have a reality check.’
Ethan Crumbley, 15, is being held without bond and is charged as an adult with murder, attempted murder and terrorism in Tuesday’s shooting rampage at Oxford High School that left four dead and seven wounded.
Cobb was not surprised that the parents purchased the gun used in the shooting as a Christmas present on Black Friday for their teen son, and ignored dangerous warning signs about his plans.
‘They pretty much gave him whatever he wanted,’ she said, adding, ‘Why would you let a 15-year-old have access, especially knowing that just a few days prior that he was having problems at school?’
Michelle Cobb (left and right with son Eli), who has an 18-year-old son with James, accused him of being a deadbeat dad who ditched their family for Jennifer, and said both Crumbleys made life a misery
Three Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies survey the grounds outside of the Crumbley residence while seeking James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, on Friday
The gun store where authorities say James Crumbley purchased the gun for his son Ethan Crumbley on Black Friday
WANTED: Michigan authorities, the FBI and US Marshals Service are all looking for James Crumbley (left) and Jennifer Crumbley (right), who have a fugitive warrant out for their arrest after charges were announced against them
Cobb’s son with James Crumbley, Eli, previously spoke to DailyMail.com, describing time he spent living with his half-brother in Michigan and expressing shock at the school shooting.
‘The Ethan I knew was just a smart boy who just seemed like an average kid,’ Eli said in an interview on Wednesday. ‘There was nothing that ever stood out to me. He’d never get suspended from school, or detention.’
Police say that days before the shooting Ethan Crumbley penned a disturbing note saying ‘thoughts won’t stop, help me.’
A ‘be on the lookout alert’ was issued Friday for James and Jennifer Crumbley, who are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Tuesday’s deadly shooting.
The US Marshals service confirmed in a statement that its fugitive apprehension had joined the manhunt on Friday night.
Law enforcement sources say that the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM and had not been seen since Thursday night, when they were under surveillance at a motel where they had been staying since the shooting.
Due to a communication breakdown between agencies, the surveillance was suspended by Friday morning and the parents left the motel unobserved before the charges were announced by prosecutors, according to WDIV-TV.
The Crumbleys attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, however, insisted that their clients were not on the lam and were returning to face the charges.
‘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 lawyers said in a statement obtained by DailyMail.com. ‘Instead of communicating with us, the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges.
‘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.’
Smith and Lehman didn’t say when or whether a voluntary surrender had been arranged, and the Oakland County Sheriff’s office said it was not aware of any such plans.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he only learned of the charges being filed against the Crumbleys from media reports and had no advance warning from the prosecutors, which he said would have allowed his agency to secure the suspects before the charges were made public.
He told CNN police were searching for the Crumbleys after the couple’s attorney told his office that the Crumbleys stopped responding to messages.
‘If they think they’re going to get away, they’re not,’ Bouchard said, adding that a ‘host’ of detectives, as well as the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, were looking for them.
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
The couple may be driving a black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203
On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, Ethan Crumbley bragged about getting his ‘new beauty’ – a 9mm Sig Sauer – on November 26. The next day, his mother, Jennifer Crumbley, shared a post on her now-defunct Instagram account featuring the gun and the caption: ‘mom & son day testing his new Xmas present’
A police officer is seen outside the Crumbly family’s home in Oxford, Michigan, on Friday
On Thursday, a holiday sign reads ‘Joy’ and packages are piled on the porch at the Crumbley family’s home. Police say Jennifer and James Crumbley are on the run
Timeline of Oxford High School Shooting:
Ethan’s father James purchased the 9 mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 for Ethan from Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford.
His son was with him.
Jennifer posted a message on social media that read: ‘Mom and son day testing out his new Xmas present.’
Teacher saw Ethan Crumbley searching about ammunition on his cell phone during class, leading to a meeting with the student.
His mother Jennifer was contacted about an ‘inappropriate internet search.’ The school followed up via email but received no response.
That same day, Jennifer texted Ethan ‘lol I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
A teacher found a chilling note on Ethan’s desk that featured disturbing drawings depicting a gun, a bullet, blood everywhere, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji.
The note included the words: ‘Thoughts won’t stop, help me’; ‘my life is useless’ and ‘the world is dead,’ McDonald said.
Jennifer and James were immediately summoned to the school for a meeting.
They failed to ask if their son had the gun with him or where it was, and they failed to inspect his backpack for the gun, which he did have with him, McDonald said.
They left the school without Ethan.
Ethan allegedly shoots and kills four students
Jennifer texted Ethan ‘don’t do it.’
The shooting had already taken place.
James called 911 to report the gun missing and said he thinks his son might have it.
Ethan is charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald signaled that Ethan’s parents were under scrutiny and said she hoped to announce charging decision ‘in the next 24 hours.’
McDougal announced that Jennifer and James were charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.
The couple were scheduled to be arraigned at 4pm but stopped communicating with their attorneys, prompting state and federal officials to launch a manhunt.
Crumbleys’ lawyers said their clients had left for their own safety and were not on the run.
Later on Friday:
Oakland County sheriff complained after the charges were announced that he did not get an advance warning of the charges being filed against the pair and learned of them from media reports.
As of 5pm:
Jennifer and James had not shown up to court, but their lawyer said they ‘are returning’ and ‘would be turning themselves in to be arraigned.’
After the attorneys for the Crumbley parents claimed they were returning to face charges, local law enforcement said they were unaware of such an arrangement.
‘If they are, it’s news to us,’ Undersheriff Mike McCabe told ABC News, saying authorities still don’t know where the couple is located.
In charging the parents, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald alleged that the parents ignored multiple warning signs and refused to take their son out of school just hours before the shooting took place.
Jennifer bragged on social media about going out with Ethan to test his Christmas present – a 9mm handgun – just three days before the shooting at Oxford High School, and just one day after her husband James had purchased the gun for Ethan.
During a press conference Friday, McDonald revealed stunning new details leading up to the shooting that took place Tuesday afternoon, including 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.
The prosecutor revealed that James, who – like his wife – had a prior criminal history, bought the murder weapon from a retailer with his son there on November 26. He stored the 9mm handgun in an unlocked drawer in his bedroom, McDonald said.
The next day, Jennifer posted about the Christmas present to Instagram with the caption: ‘Mom & son day testing out his new Xmas [sic] present.’ Jennifer’s Instagram account has since been taken down.
Two days later, on November 29, McDonald said a teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching ammunition on his cell during class and reported it to school officials.
Ethan had a meeting with school administrators, and his mother Jennifer was contacted via voicemail by the school about her son’s inappropriate internet search. Officials also followed up with an email but received no response, the prosecutor said.
The mother later exchanged texts with her son on that day stating: ‘lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,’ McDonald said Friday.
She also 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 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.
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.
McDonald said the parents ‘resisted’ the idea of pulling their son out of school at that time and left without him.
Officials previously said that at 12.51pm, Ethan walked into a bathroom at Oakland High School with a backpack, then emerged less than a minute later carrying the Sig Sauer handgun and opened fire.
At 1.22pm – more than 30 minutes after the shooting was first reported – Jennifer texted her son, saying: ‘Ethan, don’t do it,’ the prosecutor said.
At 1.37pm, James called 911, reporting his newly purchased gun missing. He also told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford High School.
James and Jennifer were scheduled to be arraigned at 4pm, but authorities reported the pair were not in custody as of late Friday afternoon.
Charging documents allege that the parents caused the death of each of the four deceased victims by ‘storing his or her firearm and its ammunition so as to allow access to the firearm and ammunition by his or her minor child or the grossly negligent failure… to exercise reasonable care to control his or her minor child so as to prevent him from intentionally harming others or from so conducting himself so as to create an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to others knowing that he or she has the ability to control his or her child and knowing of the necessity and opportunity to do so.’
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday afternoon
Pictured: Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley, the parents of school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, were charged on Friday with involuntary manslaughter
Crumbley’s father James, who owns the gun he used in the attack, and his mother Jennifer are pictured on Zoom attending the arraignment
Michigan school shooter’s parents have criminal histories including charges of DUI and passing bad checks
James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, both had a history of run-ins with the law, which did not prevent the dad from buying a gun on Black Friday.
Court records from Florida indicate that on February 12, 2005, the pair were charged with driving under the influence. They pleaded no contest and were fined $652 each,
James’ criminal record in Florida also includes a charge of driving with a suspended license and having an improper tag, which cost him more than $200 in fines
Two years prior to the DUI case, Jennifer was accused of passing a bad check in the amount of $150, earning her a misdemeanor charge that was ultimately dismissed.
She was accused again in 2004 of writing a phony check and was fined $240.
James’ history of run-ins with the law did not impede him from passing a background check when purchasing the 9mm Sig Sauer on November 26.
Source: NY Post
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Friday that she agrees with McDonald’s decision to criminally charge the Crumbleys.
‘I fully support Prosecutor McDonald’s issuance of charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley,’ she wrote. ‘Demanding accountability of a child’s parents under the circumstances presented is not just appropriate, it’s crucial. Justice demands no less.
‘My heart continues to go out to the families who lost their child in this unfathomable tragedy. We must not let this pass without properly addressing gun violence and responsible gun ownership.’
Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where the probability of harm or death was high.
‘The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,’ McDonald said Thursday. The gun, which Ethan’s father, James Crumbley, had just purchased four days before the rampage, ‘seems to have been just freely available to that individual.’
‘These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send the message that gun owners have a responsibility.
‘When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.’
Ethan has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism, for the shooting on Tuesday.
The school shooting – the deadliest in the US since 2018 – 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.
At an arraignment in Pontiac, Michigan, on Wednesday Ethan sat mum, masked and suited in a heavy suicide-prevention vest, while attorneys and his parents joined in by video conference.
The teen was charged as an adult because the crimes are ‘serious’ and the attack was premeditated.
Prosecutors described watching ‘horrific’ surveillance video footage of the shooting.
‘What’s depicted on that video, honestly, judge, I don’t have the words to describe how horrific that was,’ Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast told a judge on Wednesday.
Keast said the video of the attack showed Crumbley enter a bathroom at the school with a backpack before he emerged with a gun.
‘At that point, he deliberately aimed the gun at students and began firing at students. After students started running he continued down the hallway pointing the gun and firing (at them) and firing in classrooms and at students who were unable to escape.
‘He methodically and deliberately walked down a hallway, aiming the firearm at students and firing. After children started running away from the defendant, he continued down the hallway again at a deliberate and methodical pace, pointing and aiming inside classrooms and at students who hadn’t had the opportunity to escape,’ Crumbley has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of terrorism. He is being held as an adult.
A man believed to be James Crumbley wrote in a Facebook comment: ‘Trump will protect our 2nd amendment! I want my child to get a gun’
In the long-winded open letter on her blog, Jennifer praised Trump’s support of gun rights, and blamed her son’s academic struggles on Common Core
On an Instagram account that has since been deleted, there were sinister, horror-movie style faces, along with more recent posts of a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a paper target with bullet holes through it.
It was not possible to independently verify the account but police said Ethan ‘had been shooting with [the 9mm handgun] and posted pictures of a target and the weapon.’
In 2016, Jennifer wrote a rambling open letter to then-President Donald Trump, praising his support for Second Amendment rights – a sentiment that was echoed in her husband’s Facebook comment, where he also wrote that he wanted his child ‘to get a gun.’
In her letter, the 43-year-old mom wrote in part: ‘as a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms. Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions. Thank you for respecting that Amendment.’
Jennifer also spoke of her son’s struggles with math in school, appearing to blame Common Core, and complained about illegal immigration and the woes of middle class Americans.
Parents are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children, even as most minors get guns from a parent or relative’s house, according to experts.
Michigan has no law on the books that requires gun owners to keep weapons locked away from children. McDonald, however, suggested there’s more to build a case on.
Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in Tuesday’s shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit
Justin Shilling, 17, (left) died in the hospital on Wednesday morning and Tate Myre (right) died in the school on Tuesday
‘All I can say at this point is those actions on mom and dad’s behalf go far beyond negligence,’ the prosecutor told WJR-AM. ‘We obviously are prosecuting the shooter to the fullest extent. … There are other individuals who should be held accountable.’
Later at a news conference, McDonald said she hoped to have an announcement ‘in the next 24 hours.’ She had firmly signaled that Crumbley’s parents were under scrutiny when she filed charges against their son Wednesday.
Sheriff Mike Bouchard disclosed Wednesday that the parents met with school officials about their son’s classroom behavior, just a few hours before the shooting.
McDonald said information about what had troubled the school ‘will most likely come to light soon.’
Investigators said the attack was premeditated, citing videos Crumbley recorded the night before in which he talked about shooting students, as well as a journal recovered from his backpack that described his intent to murder classmates.
Crumbley stayed in school Tuesday and later emerged from a bathroom with his father’s new gun, firing at students in the hallway, police said.
The superintendent for the district late Thursday posted a YouTube video where he said the teenager was called to the office before the shooting but ‘no discipline was warranted.’
On an Instagram account which has since been deleted, there are sinister horror-movie style faces, along with more recent posts of a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a paper target with bullet holes through it (left). It was not possible to independently verify the account but police said Crumbley ‘had been shooting with [the 9mm handgun] and posted pictures of a target and the weapon’
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer embraces Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter as the two leave flowers and pay their respects Thursday morning,
Tim Throne, leader of Oxford Community Schools, said the high school looks like a ‘war zone’ and won´t be ready for weeks. But he repeatedly credited students and staff for how they responded to the violence.
‘To say that I am still in shock and numb is probably an understatement. These events that have occurred will not define us,’ Throne, grim-faced and speaking slowly, said in the 12-minute video.
‘I want you to know that there´s been a lot of talk about the student who was apprehended, that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted,’ Throne said. ‘There are no discipline records at the high school. Yes this student did have contact with our front office, and, yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30.’
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Nothing ever seemed off.’ Ethan Crumbley’s older brother, 18, says the school shooting suspect, 15, was an ‘average, happy kid’, got good grades, was into Minecraft and WASN’T bullied as a child
Speaking exclusively with DailyMail.com, Eli Crumbley, 18, said he can’t understand how his own sibling could suddenly snap, open fire, and kill his classmates, following the deadly rampage in Oxford, Michigan on Tuesday.
‘The Ethan I knew was just a smart boy who just seemed like an average kid,’ he said in an interview on Wednesday. ‘There was nothing that ever stood out to me. He’d never get suspended from school, or detention.
‘He didn’t suffer depression or anything like that. He woke up happy, went to school, came home and played games.’
Eli and Ethan, 15, have the same father, but different mothers. Originally from Florida, the two boys later moved to Michigan with their dad James Crumbley and his second wife, Ethan’s mom, Jennifer.
Eli, 18, (left) and Ethan, 15, (right) have the same father, but different mothers. The two boys grew up in Florida but later moved to Michigan with their dad James Crumbley and his second wife, Ethan’s mom, Jennifer
The older brother hinted at some family turmoil that prompted him to abruptly move out last March, to live with his biological mother in Florida where he grew up.
‘It mostly had to do with the relationship between my stepmother and I,’ Eli said. He wouldn’t elaborate other than to say: ‘It wasn’t as great as it could be. Moving back to Florida was the best option for me.
Ethan remained living with his parents in a small home in Oxford, less than two miles from where he opened fire.
Eli said he hadn’t spoken with Ethan or his father in two months but reached out to his dad Tuesday night only after hearing the news of a mass shooting at Oxford High School.
‘I was worried, I wanted to see if Ethan was okay because I knew he went there,’ said Eli, who also attended the school for a year. ‘And then that’s when I was receiving information otherwise.’
Unable to reach his dad, the 18-year-old called a former employer who told him that his old house in Oxford was surrounded by FBI agents.
He then learned that his own father bought the gun that Ethan used.
‘I didn’t know he had a gun till after this happened,’ he said. ‘It’s still hard to believe,’ he said. ‘I can’t believe it.’
‘As far as I knew, Ethan was always good,’ Eli added. ‘He was just quiet, kept to himself, kept his circle of friends small. He was a clean kid, didn’t smoke or do drugs, nothing.’
‘And he got good grades,’ Eli said. ‘He wanted to be an archaeologist.’
‘When I was living there, nothing seemed off, ‘ he continued. ‘We’d just walk to the bus stop in the morning, go to school, come home, maybe play some football outside or basketball. We’d just chill, wouldn’t do much.’
Ethan was on the bowling and soccer teams in middle school, he said, but didn’t play team sports in high school.
He said his brother’s biggest hobby was video games, which he’d play at night. His favorite was Minecraft.
Asked whether he knew of any other problems Ethan was experiencing, Eli noted that they had an aunt who died a couple months ago and that Ethan recently also lost his pet dog, Tank.
‘I really don’t know what his reasoning was behind this,’ Eli said.
He was surprised to hear that bullying may have been a factor. Ethan wasn’t ever bullied as a child, according to Eli.
‘I would like to talk to him,’ he said, ‘but I don’t think that’s something that’s going to happen for a while.’