Parents of accused killer in US school shooting deny charges of involuntary manslaughter

4 December 2021, 07:42 | Updated: 4 December 2021, 15:32

Students pay their respects at a memorial at Oxford High School a day after the year's deadliest U.S. school shooting which killed and injured several people, in Oxford, Michigan, U.S.
Students pay their respects at a memorial at Oxford High School a day after the year's deadliest U.S. school shooting which killed and injured several people, in Oxford, Michigan, U.S. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The parents of a teenager suspected of a school shooting in Michigan who disappeared after they were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter have pleaded not guilty.

At an arraignment hearing, James and Jennifer Crumbley were told they could each face up to 15 years behind bars.

They each had a bail bond set at $500,000.

The Crumbley's had been charged with involuntary manslaughter after their 15 year-old son, Ethan Crumbley, was accused of opening fire - killing four students.

They were found in a building in Detroit, after rewards of up to $10,000 were put forward for information to help find them.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said a vehicle tied to the couple had been located by a Detroit business owner late on Friday.

Hours after the charges were announced on Friday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said authorities were searching for them after their lawyer said they had stopped answering messages.

Read more: Three students killed and six injured in US high school shooting

Sheriff Bouchard said their lawyer Shannon Smith had agreed to arrange their arrest if charges were filed but had not been able to reach them.

Ms Smith said the Crumbleys were not on the run and had left town earlier in the week "for their own safety".

"They are returning to the area to be arraigned," she had told the Associated Press.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes.

Officials said he pulled out a gun at Oxford High School on Tuesday, fatally shooting four people and injuring seven others.

Mr and Mrs Crumbley are accused of buying Ethan a handgun used in the shooting as well as ignoring warning signs on the day of the tragedy.

They were called in by teachers just hours before it happened because of drawings found on their son's desk.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said Jane Crumbley had also texted her son, saying: "Don't do it".

Sheriff Bouchard said: "I believe mistakes were made at a number of levels and we're doing our best to make sure that those who were murdered on this tragic day get justice."