How Teen Gunman’s parents ended up hiding in a local artist’s studio


Matthew Hatcher / Getty

After the parents of suspected Oxford High School gunman Ethan Crumbley were found by teams of fugitives early Saturday morning “hiding” on a commercial property in east Detroit, attention turned to whom could have helped their extraordinary escape attempt.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said on Saturday afternoon his office was considering indicting an anonymous person for aiding or obstructing justice for aiding Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley, even as police issued warnings. nationwide alerts and that the US Marshals were getting involved. .

“We have enough early indications that it is clear that someone helped them get to this place and made it available to them, and it was after it was publicly announced that he there were warrants for them, ”he said.

Video of the arrest scene captured by Miles Michael:

A closer look by The Daily Beast of footage of the Crumbleys arrests shows the couple walking out of a room with signage for Andrzej Sikora, a Poland-born, Detroit-based artist with ties to Oxford.

According to an article in the Chief of Oxford last month, Sikora completed a mural at the Red Knapps American Grill, a bar just around the corner from the Crumbleys’ house. A photo accompanying the story indicated that Sikora’s photo was taken by a “Jehn Crumbley,” a nickname for Jennifer Crumbley, a real estate agent-turned-marketing director known to come across professionally and socially. The article appeared to have been updated to remove the caption, but a WayBack Machine archive still showed it.

Reached by telephone on Saturday morning, Sikora said he had just been made aware of the investigation and was in conversation with people, but he did not specify whether they were agents of the forces of order or lawyers, and declined to comment further.

“You will see more information,” he said.

Sikora studied and worked in Poland before moving to the United States in 1990, according to a biography of him by an arts representation agency. He is an avid muralist, with his work displayed in mansions, restaurants and an opera house. Records for the property show it was associated with a Lake Orion property from 2003 to 2020. The Crumbleys bought their home in Oxford in 2015 after living in Lake Orion, their lawyer said during their arraignment on Saturday.

A Red Knapp employee said she couldn’t provide more details on the photograph. The writer of Chief of Oxford article and the newspaper’s editor did not respond to inquiries as to why the caption was removed. Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, lawyers for the Crumbleys, did not answer phone calls asking for comment.

At an early morning press conference after the Crumbleys were arrested by fugitive teams, Detroit Police Chief James White said the department was aware of an individual helping the Crumbleys find refuge.

“We’re working from an angle on another person helping them,” White said, indicating that charges could be laid.

Asked Saturday afternoon to comment on Sikora’s possible involvement, Rudy Harper, Detroit’s second deputy police chief, told the Daily Beast: “We have not publicly identified the third person to my knowledge. At the moment, our investigation is continuing.

The Wayne County District Attorney’s Office told the Daily Beast that the Sikora case will be reviewed by the Oakland County District Attorney’s Office. They did not respond to a request for comment.

<div classe="inline-image__credit">OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF OF OAKLAND COUNTY</div>
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On arraignment on Saturday morning, shortly after their dramatic capture, James and Jennifer pleaded not guilty to four counts of manslaughter, one for each of the four students who died at Oxford High School.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged the parents with their “blatant” conduct before and after the shooting: buying their 15-year-old son a handgun four days before the shooting, keeping it unsecured in a bedroom drawer, saying nothing when the teachers told them hours before the shooting that Ethan had drawn an ominous picture about shooting people.

When a teacher found Ethan searching for ammunition on his cell phone during class the day before the shooting, Jennifer ignored emails and voicemails from concerned school officials and instead texted her. son: “Lol, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” McDonald said.

Jennifer, whose attorney said she worked as a marketing manager for a large corporation, cried during the arraignment as she said she understood the charges against her. James, a former tech salesman, smiled, laughed, shook his head, and raised his eyebrows in different places.

Meanwhile, Smith and McDonald’s have argued over whether the couple are planning to surrender.

“These are not people who we can be sure will come back to court on their own,” McDonald told the judge, prompting James Crumbley to laugh.

The couple were last seen by the public on Thursday when they listened to their son’s virtual indictment from a car. McDonald said he withdrew $ 4,000 from an ATM before he disappeared, prompting police to issue a Be Alert (BOLO) alert and the US Marshals to get involved, offering a reward of $ 10,000 for information.

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<p>An eagle-eyed informant spotted the couple’s black car outside a building in Detroit.</p>
<div class="inline-image__credit">Matthew Hatcher / Getty</div>
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An eagle-eyed informant spotted the couple’s black car outside a building in Detroit.

Matthew Hatcher / Getty

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An eagle-eyed informant spotted the couple’s black car outside a building in Detroit.

Matthew Hatcher / Getty

For several hours, Detroit law enforcement searched areas near the water, raising questions as to whether the couple were trying to escape to neighboring Canada. But White did not answer questions about this theory during his press conference on Saturday.

An informant then spotted the couple’s black Kia Seltos parked outside an industrial building in Detroit, described in the ads as an ‘Albert Kahn’s gem’ that is home to businesses including a printing house, cafe and automotive supplier. Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe said the tipster observed a woman smoking near the car that fled when 911 was called.

Just after 1:30 a.m., heavily armed police descended on the building, pulling the couple from Sikora’s studio. White said they both appeared “in distress” when they were found.

Smith, however, claimed in court that his clients still planned to surrender. She said prosecutors failed to notify her of the impending charges and the “terrified” parents were just putting their own house in order.

“It was just a matter of logistics,” she said. McDonald disagreed. “I can’t imagine why they were surprised,” she said. “The whole country knew these accusations were coming. “

Bouchard said on Saturday he believed the couple were escaping arrest.

“I think where they were and how they were, seems to support the position they are hiding and they weren’t looking to surrender at that time,” he said.

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