On Friday, Karen D. McDonald, the Oakland County prosecutor, said the Crumbleys were culpable in the year’s deadliest school shooting because they had allowed their son access to a handgun while ignoring glaring warnings that he was on the brink of violence.
Law enforcement officials said that the parents had gone missing on Friday afternoon, prompting a manhunt that involved the county’s fugitive-apprehension team, F.B.I. agents and United States Marshals. It drew in the Detroit police when officials received the tip that led them to the area where Saturday’s arrest took place, just north of the Detroit River.
“They cannot run from their part in this tragedy,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard of Oakland County said in a statement on Friday, before the couple were apprehended.
At the arraignment, the couple’s defense lawyers maintained that the couple were not fleeing. The couple, the defense lawyer Shannon Smith said, were “absolutely going to turn themselves in,” and attributed the delay to miscommunication with the prosecutor’s office. The lawyers also said that the prosecutor’s statement that the gun was left unlocked in the Crumbley home was not true.
The deadly gunfire in Oxford, in Oakland County — about 30 miles north of Detroit — added to a growing list of shootings this year on school grounds in the United States after a lull during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, when many schools held classes remotely.
In announcing the charges against the parents, Ms. McDonald gave a detailed accounting of Ethan Crumbley’s alleged actions leading up to the shooting.
On the morning of Nov. 30, the day of the shooting, she said, the suspect’s parents were urgently called into the high school after one of his teachers found an alarming note he had drawn, scrawled with images of a gun, a person who had been shot and a laughing emoji, and the words, “Blood everywhere,” and, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”