Jennifer Crumbley is the mother of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, who officials say killed four students in a rampage in Michigan on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
Jennifer Crumbley has been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the shooting, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced at a press conference on Friday, December 3. Her husband, James Crumbley, is facing the same charges.
The Crumbleys were arrested Friday night while hiding in a building in Detroit, authorities said. They were the targets of a search by the U.S. Marshals, who offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrest, and local Michigan police after they failed to turn themselves in for their arraignment Friday afternoon in Oakland County. Their attorneys had said in a statement the couple had left their home in Oxford for the safety the night of the shooting and planned to surrender, but expected to have been made aware of the charges ahead of a press conference.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were arraigned on Saturday and held on $500,000 bail after a judge sided with prosecutors who said their actions on Friday made them a flight risk, according to video of the court proceeding. If they are able to post bail, they will be required to wear GPS monitors, the judge ruled. They have both pleaded not guilty.
James, Jennifer and Ethan Crumbley are all lodged in the same jail now, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said during a news conference Saturday, December 4, 2021, but each of them is in isolation.
“No talking,” Bouchard said during the news conference. “No interaction.”
McDonald said James Crumbley bought the handgun used in the shooting on Black Friday, November 26, four days before the shooting, and Jennifer Crumbley indicated in a Facebook post that the gun was a Christmas present for their son.
McDonald also said the suspect’s parents were notified by the school about troubling drawings and internet searches made in class the day before and the day of the shooting, but did not tell administrators that he had access to a gun and laughed off one incident in a text message with the teen. They met with administrators and their son to talk about drawings depicting guns and violent images and concerning statements just three hours before the shooting, but resisted removing the 15-year-old from the school, the prosecutor said.
“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30 and it is my intention to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald said. “It is imperative we prevent this from happening again. No other parent or community should have to life through this nightmare. Gun ownership is a right and with that right comes great responsibility. Based on the information and the evidence I have received, today I am announcing charges against the shooter’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley.”
Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to Michigan state law.
Jennifer Crumbley, who also goes by Jehn Crumbley, is listed as a realtor for a Clarkston, Michigan, real estate company. She is 43 and lives in Oxford, Michigan, with her husband, James, and their son. Local media reports showed police searching their East Street home after the shooting.
She appeared over video with her husband to watch the arraignment of their son Wednesday afternoon. Both parents had their lips pursed, and they both wore hats partially obscuring their faces. James Crumbley’s lips were quivering after he introduced himself to Judge Nancy T. Carniak.
McDonald announced in the press conference Wednesday afternoon that Ethan Crumbley, 15, is being charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. His arraignment was held the evening of December 1, 2021. After hearing arguments from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, Carniak agreed to transfer the suspect from Children’s Village, a juvenile detention facility, to the county jail. He will be separated from adults in the facility, officials said. Bail was denied in his case.
The deceased victims were identified November 30 as 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana and 16-year-old Tate Myre, officials said. A fourth victim, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, died a day after the shooting.
Here’s what you need to know about Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan Crumbley’s mom:
1. Crumbley & Her Husband Were Called to Their Son’s School the Morning of the Shooting & Told About a Drawing Featuring a Gun Their Son Had Made While in Class, the Prosecutor Says
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said at a press conference the day after the shooting that James and Jennifer Crumbley had been called to Oxford High School the morning of the shooting for a meeting about their son.
“We have since learned that the school did have contact with the student the day before and the day of the shooting for behavior in the classroom that they thought was concerning. In fact, the parents were brought in the morning of the shooting and had a face to face meeting with the school,” Bouchard said. “The content of that meeting, obviously is part of the investigation, but we did not learn of that meeting, nor of the content of the meeting until after the shooting and during this investigation.”
Bouchard said Crumbley’s parents left the school about 10 a.m., a few hours before the shooting, and Ethan Crumbley stayed at school. He did not leave the school building, Bouchard said. He said administrators had met with Ethan Crumbley the day before the shooting to talk to him about the “concerning behavior.”
Bouchard added that Crumbley didn’t know about the Tuesday meeting before it happened. His parents were called Tuesday morning and he was brought into the meeting. Investigators believe the gun was already in the school at that time. The school district’s superintendent has said no discipline was warranted after the meetings on Monday and Tuesday. McDonald said the investigation into the shooting will include whether school administrators were negligent in any way in their handling of Crumbley prior to the attack.
According to McDonald, Ethan Crumbley was at the gun store when his father bought the handgun used in the shooting. She said the 15-year-old posted photos of the gun on social media with the caption, “Just got my new beauty today. Sig Sauer 9mm. Any questions I will answer,” along with a heart-eyes emoji. She said Jennifer Crumbley posted on Facebook, “Mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.”
McDonald said on November 29 a teacher at Oxford High School saw Ethan Crumbley searching for ammunition on his cell phone while in class and reported it to school officials. McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley was contacted by the school about her son’s “inappropriate internet search,” but did not respond to a voicemail or email. Jennifer Crumbley then exchanged text messages with her son about the incident, saying, “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” McDonald said.
On November 30, the morning of the shooting, McDonald said Ethan Crumbley’s teacher found a note on the 15-year-old’s desk that “alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her cell phone.” McDonald said the note contained, “A drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words, ‘the thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet, ‘Blood everywhere.’ Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless.’ And to the right of that are the words, ‘The world is dead.'”
McDonald said James and Jennifer Crumbley were “immediately summoned to the school” after the note was found. A school counselor removed Ethan Crumbley from his classroom and brought him to an office with his backpack, McDonald said. He had altered the drawing, scratching out the gun and bloody figure along with some of the words, before the meeting, she said.
“At the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours. Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located,” McDonald said. “And failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him.” She said the parents “resisted the idea” of their son leaving the school at that time.
“Instead, James and Jennifer Crumbley left the high school without their son. He was returned to the classroom,” McDonald said. “When the news of the active shooter at Oxford High School had been made public, Jennifer Crumbley texted to her son at 1:22 p.m., ‘Ethan, don’t do it.’ At 1:37 p.m., James Crumbley called 911 reporting that a gun was missing from his house and he believed his son may be the shooter.” She said that after hearing of the shooting, James Crumbley went right home to see if the gun was there.
McDonald added, “Further investigation revealed that the Sig Sauer 9mm handgun purchased by James Crumbley was stored unlocked in a drawer in James and Jennifer’s bedroom. The gun recovered from the shooter at the school after the shooting was the same gun that was purchased by his father.”
2. The Oakland County Prosecutor Emphasized the Responsibilities of Gun Owners & Said 15-Year-Old Crumbley Should Not Have Had Access to the Firearm
After announcing the charges, McDonald said, “I want to be really clear that these charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility. When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.”
McDonald said in a December 1 press conference that the responsibilities of gun owners involve securing the firearm safely, keeping it separate from ammunition and keeping it out of the hands of minors.
“I have tremendous compassion and empathy for parents who have children who are struggling and at risk, for whatever reason. And I am by no means saying that an active shooter situation should always result in a criminal prosecution against parents. But the facts of this case are so egregious. … Reading the words, ‘help me,’ with a gun, ‘blood everywhere,’ this doesn’t just impact me as prosecutor and a lawyer, it impacts me as a mother. The notion that a parent could read those words and also know that their son had access to a deadly weapon, that they gave him, is unconscionable and I think it’s criminal, it is criminal.”
“When you give your child access to a deadly weapon, when you indicate you are buying a weapon and you sign that is for yourself, yet, clearly based on the statements of the shooter, the statements of mom, that was his gun,” McDonald added. “And then we have the searching of ammunition, we have mom saying, at least you didn’t get caught, we have the next morning, drawing essentially almost explicitly what he was about to do. I expect parents and everyone to have humanity and to step in and stop a potential tragedy.”
McDonald said federal authorities could investigate James Crumbley for buying the gun for Ethan, who is not allowed to own a gun in Michigan as a minor, as a straw buyer. She said the “facts probably indicate” he did act illegally as a straw buyer. She said the gun store where the weapon was bought is not facing an investigation.
“To prevent further tragedies like the one we witnessed yesterday and at large, we have got to address responsible gun ownership in this country and in Oakland County,” McDonald said. “Responsible gun ownership, including the security of a gun, is an absolute imperative to protect our community today and in the future. And those who do not do that should be and will be held accountable.”
McDonald added, “The response was executed perfectly, yet four children were killed and multiple injuries occurred, which suggests that we really can’t train ourselves out of this tragedy. We have to address the fact that people should be held accountable who own guns and are not responsible.”
She said, “W know that owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate and not allowing access to other individuals, particularly minors. We know that. And we have to hold individuals accountable who don’t do that.”
The sheriff said the Crumbleys hired their son an attorney and were not cooperating with the investigation or allowing him to speak to investigators. When asked if he knew why the father bought the gun, Bouchard told reporters, “As I said, they’re not talking to us.”
Bouchard said the gun taken from the suspect at the scene matched one seen in an Instagram post made by the 15-year-old before the shooting. “It was a recent weapon purchase that he had been shooting with and had posted pictures of a target and the weapon. That’s all part of what’s being looked at. We’re going to do a deep dive in the social media and all the activities of this young man,” Bouchard said.
3. Jennifer Crumbley Wrote in a Blog Post She Reluctantly Voted for Trump in 2016 & Cited Guns as a Reason
Jennifer Crumbley wrote a blog post published November 11, 2016, titled, “Dear Mr. Trump.” The blog has since been deleted, but an archive is available here.
In the post, she said she decided to vote for Trump, although his political platform often conflicted with her values. She described her family as middle class and hardworking and said her son has two working parents. She said she supports the right to bear arms.
“As a female and a Realtor, thank you for allowing my right to bear arms. Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions. Thank you for respecting that Amendment,” she wrote.
She also noted her son struggles in school with common core learning.
You see Mr. Trump, I need you to stop common core. My son struggles daily, and my teachers tell me they hate teaching it but the HAVE to. Their pay depends on these stupid f****** test scores. I have to pay for a Tutor, why? Because I can’t figure out 4th grade math. I used to be good at math. I can’t afford a Tutor, in fact I sacrifice car insurance to make sure my son gets a good education and hopefully succeeds in life. My parents teach at a school where their kids come from illegal immigrant parents. Most of their parents are locked up. They don’t care about learning and threaten to kill my mom for caring about their grades. Do you realize Mr. Trump that they get free tutors, free tablets from our Government so they can succeed. Why cant my son get those things, do we as hard working Americans not deserve that too?
Crumbley opened her blog post with the reasons she decided to vote for Trump. She said she considers herself a feminist, she is pro-choice and said she supports the LGBT community.
Dear President Elect, Mr. Trump. Feels funny to even be writing your name like that, but you made history on Tuesday. I’m not going to lie. I was scared s***less to circle your name on my ballot. I have been back and forth on whether to vote for you, or not vote at all. I struggled to make myself find a way to trust Hillary as a President. I could not. You see, I am an American Woman. I value the equality of the LGBT community, in fact, I hold that in really high regards. I am a feminist. I value womens rights and want to be alive when I see the first woman become President. But as an American Woman, with a 10 year old child I could not have that first woman be Hillary.
She went on to say that she could not vote for Clinton based on “intuition.”
But I am also a woman, I have a very strong intuition and I personally have always learned to go with my gut feeling (thanks mom). Hillary started speaking, I listened, I looked at her eyes, her permanent, unchanging smile, her ability to show no emotion and it was then, my heart sank, my mind became clear and I knew, absolutely knew that her intentions were not true. Her promises are false. Her voice has an evil cold. Everything she has done, whether it was proven true or not to the public, I knew in the deepest of my gut that I could not let this woman have control over my son’s future.
She said she was not offended by Trump’s comment about women when he infamously said, “grab them by the p****.”
“I say things all the time that people take the wrong way, do I mean them, not always,” she wrote.
She continued, saying she was “not scared” of Trump’s “big personality and quick temper.”
“There is a whole house of representatives that still have to approve if you decide to get pissed at China and blow them up,” she wrote.
She continued, saying she supported Trump’s promise to build a wall at the United States’ border with Mexico, adding, “I am not a racist.”
Crumbley’s husband linked to the 2016 blog post on his Facebook page, writing, “My wife can be spot on. Sometimes.”
4. Crumbley Worked as a Realtor for a Michigan Company, but Her License Lapsed in 2018
Crumbley has worked in real estate for property management companies and as a realtor, according to her LinkedIn profile and other social media pages. Michigan state records show she was licensed as a realtor in 2013 and her license lapsed in 2018. In an online profile she said she is a realtor with 23 years of experience, according to her Realtor.com profile.
It lists her skills including:
– Negotiating top dollar for your property (Residential and Commercial)
– Complete Loyalty, Commitment with Personal and friendly service
– Working with Sellers & helping them understand Foreclosure process
– Creating Short Sale packages and submitting all documents for Short Sales to the lender for approval.
– Obtaining TOP dollars on properties for the Bank and Seller
Crumbley was listed as a real estate agent, but the company removed her staff bio in the day after the shooting. Here is her deleted profile:
The real estate company is based in Clarkston, Michigan. The company has not commented about Crumbley or whether she is still affiliated with them.
Crumbley graduated from Clarkston High School in Michigan in 1996 and has an associate’s degree in business management and marketing from Northwestern Michigan College, according to her now-deleted LinkedIn profile. Along with working as a realtor, she has been a director of marketing, social media reputation management specialist, social media coordinator, account executive and general manager at several jobs, including a maid service, a car dealership, a restaurant and multiple real estate and property management companies, her LinkedIn page showed.
5. She Has Deleted or Privatized Her Social Media Accounts & Has an Arrest Record in Florida
While social media pages belonging to her husband, James Crumbley, remain active, accounts used by Jennifer Crumbley and her son have been deactivated, including her Facebook page, which was under the name Jehn Lynn Crumbley. She also has a private Instagram and a private Twitter account.
A video on Ethan Crumbley’s father’s Facebook page posted on October 19, 2021, shows her husband and son pranking her with a “shock scare.” The video was filmed by Ethan Crumbley, according to James Crumbley’s caption.
According to public records, the Crumbleys have lived at their home on East Street in Oxford, Michigan, since they purchased it in August 2015. They previously lived in Renton, Washington. She has also lived in Jacksonville, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach, Florida, records show, along with Traverse City and Waterford, Michigan.
Crumbley was born Jennifer Lynn Sawdon. Records in Florida show that she has been arrested while using her maiden name, Jennifer Sawdon, in Lee and Duval counties. She was cited on a charge of letting animals run at large in 2004 in Lee County and driving under the influence in 2005 in Duval County. In 2003, she was charged in Duval County with passing a worthless check and in 2003 was charged with driving with a suspended license and failure to appear in court, records obtained by Heavy show.