Over the weekend, James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley had a warrant out for their arrest after they failed to appear at a court arraignment on Friday afternoon.
Each parent of alleged 15-year-old shooter Ethan Crumbley has been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for the events leading up to the shooting on November 30 that left four students dead.
According to officials, the parents drove to a nearby town of Rochester Hills, located about ten to fifteen miles from where the shooting at Oxford High School took place in Michigan. From there, they withdrew $4,000 dollars from an ATM and turned off their cell phones. During a press conference on Saturday, Detroit Police Chief James White said it was “very likely” that the couple was trying to flee to Canada.
Although their attorneys insisted that the couple had left town for their own safety, a manhunt began with the U.S. Marshals and the FBI posting pictures of the couple, their vehicle, and their license plate in an attempt to locate them.
The couple had been aided into hiding in a commercial building, and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard has indicated that the person involved with aiding and abetting the couple could face charges. Now, the owner of the building is coming forward to explain his side of the story.
Artist Comes Forward: ‘Was Not Following The News Closely’
The commercial building that the Crumbley couple was hiding in is actually an art studio owned by 65-year-old Detroit artist Andzrej Sikora, who knew the Crumbley family after meeting them at a ski club.
According to ABC News, he is working with officials through his lawyer, Clarence Dass. Sikora claimed that he was aware that he “knew what was going on” in regards to the shooting, but he was not following the news closely and did not know that the couple had a warrant out for their arrest.
His attorney would not elaborate on the conversation that took place between Sikora and the Crumbley couple and declined to state if Sikora gave the couple the keys to the building where his art studio was located.
After he saw that James and Jennifer Crumbley were arrested on the morning news, Sikora says that he went to the Detroit Police Department and identified himself as the owner of the studio. He provided information about what he knew to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office before hiring legal representation.
Although Sikora has not been arrested and there have been no charges filed against him at the time of his writing, Dass said that it was possible that he could be facing charges later this week.
James And Jennifer Crumbley Pled Not Guilty To Charges
All members of the Crumbley family are being kept in isolation at the Oakland County Jail, which means that none of them are allowed to speak to one another. Both parents are being held on a $500,000 bond each. If they post bond, they will have to submit to GPS monitoring, as a judge agreed that they pose a flight risk.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged each parent with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for failure to properly lock up their firearm, which officials say was stored in an unlocked bedroom drawer.
In the days leading up to the shooting, his father purchased the gun – a 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun – with his son present on Black Friday. That weekend, Ethan went shooting with his mother and referred to the gun as his “Christmas present” in a social media post.
A teacher later caught Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone at school. School officials tried to notify his parents, who did not respond to voicemails or emails. Instead, Jennifer texted her son, writing, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
Both parents were summoned to school the morning of the shooting to discuss a violent drawing a teacher spotted on Ethan’s desk containing a gun, a bullet, and a bleeding stick figure. The Crumbley parents “resisted” taking Ethan out of school and he returned to class.