Identified as Kayla LeMieux, the family’s former neighbor told the Detroit Free Press, that concern of the parent’s actions and boy’s wellbeing led her to make an anonymous complaint to the state’s Children’s Protective Services (CPS) agency. She shared that the parents were “leaving Ethan at home while they went out drinking.” At the time of the complaint, Ethan Crumbley was eight or nine years old.
“When they were gone, he would come knock on our door,” LeMieux said. “They didn’t leave him with a phone.” She noted that Crumbley would use her phone to call his parents.
Because CPS complaints are confidential, it is unclear if CPS ever did anything about LeMieux’s complaint. LeMieux noted that she had worked with Jennifer Crumbley in 2012 and considered her a friend until her concerns about Ethan grew.
She even shared a Facebook conversation with the Detroit Free Press from 2015 in which she spoke to the Crumbley parents about leaving their son alone while they go out to drink at bars. The conversation has not been made public.
Both Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with involuntary manslaughter over their son’s shooting at Oxford High School Friday for acting “far beyond negligence,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
The gun used in the attack was purchased by Crumbley’s father four days beforehand, on Nov. 26, the Associated Press reported. In addition to being “freely available,” McDonald noted that Ethan Crumbley accompanied his father to purchase the gun, which social media posts by the parents referred to as his “Christmas present.”
After charges were announced against the parents Friday, reports indicated that they attempted to make a run for it.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Police Chief James White had expected the couple to run and prepared his police officers to get ready.
“We literally talked about the possibility of Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley in the Oxford incident and the two of them actually being in our city,” White told the news outlet on Sunday. “We actually debriefed that and talked about our metro division and our resources and what we would have in place should that happen. So, we weren’t surprised.”
“This is policing. Anything could happen,” White added. “We talked about our protocols. We talk about active shooters, and what we have in the field for active shooters should an active shooter happen. So we weren’t surprised. We were prepared.”
Officials tracked the couple down early Saturday after a manhunt was launched. All three of the Crumbleys are now in jail and are not allowed to have any contact with one another, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Saturday.
“These two individuals could have stopped it, and they had every reason to know that he was dangerous and they gave him a weapon, and they didn’t secure it, and they allowed him free access to it,” McDonald said during Saturday’s hearing.
After bringing a gun to school, Crumbley opened fire on Nov. 30, killing our peers and injuring at least seven others, including a teacher.
As a high school sophomore being tried as an adult, Crumbley faces one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in commitment of a felony. If convicted, he faces life in prison. He and his parents have all pleaded not guilty at this time.