Search warrant executed at home of artist who sheltered Crumbleys

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

An artist connected to the parents of the alleged Oxford High school shooter met with investigators Monday about the case, his lawyer said, and Oakland County officials later executed a search warrant at his Troy home.

Attorney Clarence Dass said Andrzej Sikora had contacted authorities after James and Jennifer Crumbley were found early Saturday in a commercial art studio linked to him in the 1100 block of Bellevue on Detroit's east side.

"Mr. Sikora, with his attorney, met with officials today at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to assist in their investigation of the tragedy at Oxford High School," Dass said in a statement Monday.

"Mr. Sikora fully cooperated and answered all of law enforcement’s questions. Mr. Sikora did not assist the Crumbleys in evading law enforcement, did not know there was a warrant for their arrest, and did not know they were at his art studio at the time of their arrest. He has not been charged with any crime, and will continue to assist members of law enforcement in their pursuit of justice."

Dass has said Sikora, a 65-year-old Polish immigrant who lives in Oakland County, was only trying to provide a place for friends who said they had received death threats. He said his client and the Crumbleys had met on a ski trip several years ago and Jennifer Crumbley had provided marketing services for his artwork. 

Following a manhunt, James Crumbley, 45, and his wife, 43,  were arrested early Saturday at a warehouse studio connected to the artist in the 1100 block of Bellevue in Detroit by police, who had been tipped by the building’s owner that there was a vehicle matching the description of one being sought inside his fenced parking lot.

Dass described Sikora as having no knowledge that his friends had been charged with a crime or were the subject of the manhunt last week.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Monday night that an interview with Sikora had taken place for about two hours "to determine if he played a role" in hiding the couple.

"Immediately after the questioning, Sheriff’s Detectives went to Sikora’s Troy home and executed a search warrant, seizing several digital devices for examination," the Sheriff's Office said. "The information will then be presented to prosecutors to determine if charges are appropriate."

Authorities added: "The issue for Detectives is what did Sikora know and when did he know it."

Andrzej Sikora, 65, had contacted authorities in Detroit and Oakland County following the discovery of James and Jennifer Crumbley early Saturday morning in a commercial space in the 1100 block of Bellevue linked to him, his attorney said.

Police have said they were investigating who may have helped the couple, who are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting in which their son is charged with first-degree murder, enter the Bellevue building.

Detroit police Chief James White said in a press conference Saturday morning that they had help entering the property. White said a tip led police to the commercial building on Bellevue, where police set up surveillance.  

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe has said the tip came from a business owner who saw a woman near a vehicle believed to be owned by the Crumbleys. They own a 2021 black Kia Seltos that could be seen parked near the building early Saturday.

Video obtained by CNN showed the arrests, and Sikora’s name and phone number were listed outside the basement room where they were apprehended.

Law enforcement surround the building where James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of suspected Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, were arrested on December 4, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan.

The Crumbleys failed to appear for their arraignment Friday afternoon on the charges, felonies that carry a 15-year sentence. That triggered a manhunt by the Sheriff’s Fugitive Apprehension Team, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, FBI, Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Department as well as a $10,000 reward to spur tips.

Their attorneys have insisted Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald’s office had not been communicative and the couple planned to turn themselves in.

The Crumbleys are being held in the Oakland County Jail on $500,000 bond each.

Their 15-year-old son is accused of killing four students and injuring six students as well as a teacher in a shooting Nov. 30 at Oxford High School. He is being held without bond on multiple charges, including first-degree murder. The parents and son have pleaded not guilty.

"It may be the first time a set of parents and their child have been held in the Oakland County Jail at the same time," sheriff's officials said Monday.