James and Jennifer Crumbley’s Lawyer Says They Didn’t Flee

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Police are searching for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who allegedly killed 4 people and injured 8 in a Nov. 30 shooting at his Michigan high school, but attorneys for the couple claim that they had left town for their own safety and would voluntarily return to be arraigned.

Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult with one count of terrorism, 4 counts of first degree murder, 7 counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm. His parents were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, with Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announcing the charges in a Friday press conference. She cited the multiple warnings the Crumbleys had received from the school about Ethan’s disturbing behavior, the fact that the parents purchased the handgun for Ethan, and text messages Jennifer had sent to her son.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard confirmed that James and Jennifer Crumbley were missing in an interview with CNN’s Victor Blackwell Friday afternoon, and a BOLO alert was issued with their photos and vehicle description.

CNN correspondent Alexandra Field told Jake Tapper there was “a major development” in the case, with the Crumbleys’ attorney reaching out with a statement saying that their clients were “in fact, not missing.”

According to the attorneys’ statement, said Field, the Crumbleys “left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety” but now “they are returning to the area to be arraigned” and “are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports.”

Field noted that the Crumbleys were supposed to be in court for their arraignment Friday afternoon.

Tapper asked CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem for her reaction.

“We just heard this statement from the parents’ lawyers that the Crumbleys are not fleeing the law, they are just out of town for their own safety,” he said. “How does that square with the fact they were supposed to be in court and did not attend?”

“A lot of it doesn’t square,” said Kayyem, “so this may just be a covering of themselves. It is hard to tell right now.”

“What makes no sense, honestly, is why is this a story?” she continued, excoriating the authorities who weren’t monitoring the Crumbleys’ location. “This should never have happened.”

At the moment that McDonald had held a national press conference, Kayyem said, the sheriff should have been standing outside the Crumbleys’ door. The “gap in communication” was “unforgivable at this stage, given what’s happened,” with families grieving the students who were shot.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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