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Authorities: Charges possible for person who aided Oxford suspects

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Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 04, 2021

Authorities captured and formally charged James and Jennifer Crumbley on Saturday for their alleged role in the deaths of four Oxford High School students.

Investigators say their son, Ethan, is the gunman.The sheriff is, once again, asking anyone with pertinent information about the Crumbleys and this case to come forward by calling 248-858-4911 or going to oakgov.com.

The 15-year-old's parents plead not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter. It's a 15-year felony, and both are being held on a $500,000 bond.

Investigators say they're now looking into another person who may have helped the Crumbleys hide. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says that person could be charged in the coming days with aiding and abetting or obstruction of justice charges. He says it's up to the prosecutor.

"Detroit police was amazing," the sheriff said in press conference Saturday.

Bouchard praised the Detroit Police Department for helping bring the Crumbleys to justice. Both departments and the US Marshals Service captured the pair early Saturday morning in an art studio on Detroit's east side after someone tipped off police.

"There's been a number of cases recently that we could not have gotten where we are without our community," Detroit Police Department Chief James White said.

Bouchard says the couple went on the run after the Oakland County prosecutor announced their charges. Investigators say the Crumbleys had allegedly allowed their son easy access to the firearm used in the killings. At their arraignment Saturday morning, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said the Crumbleys withdrew $4,000 from their ATM on Friday.

However, the Crumbleys' attorneys defended the ATM withdrawal. Also, attorney Shannon Smith said free access to the gun was not allowed and that the couple did not go on the run.

"They were figuring out what to do, getting finances in order," Smith explained in court.

"The last text message that we have with them, our plan was to drive to Novi District Court this morning because arraignments supposed to start at 8:30 for any county arraignment, and we had plans to meet them at 7:30 to text the fugitive apprehension team," the defense attorney continued.

This week, authorities spoke of the red flags discovered before the shooting that fateful day. That includes disturbing drawings by Ethan and the Crumbleys allegedly refused to take him home early. The shootings followed.

On Saturday, Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne released a new statement with the school's version of events.

It reads, in part:

"These incidents remained at the guidance counselor level and were never elevated to the principal or assistant principal’s office. While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience and did not have all the facts we now know."

During a press conference Saturday, Bouchard was asked about investigating school staff and how the situation was handled prior to the shootings.

"I wouldn't say a school official is under any investigation, specifically. I would say the situation is (under investigation), and if there's someone in that process, in that timeline has done something that triggers that criminality, if you will, that's going to be up to the prosecutor," Bouchard said.

7 Action News made contact with the person who has ties to the art space where the Crumbleys were captured and who appears to be connected to the couple. That person offered no comment.