Before Killing Four Classmates, Ethan Crumbley Apparently Tried to Get Help to No Avail

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jan. 30 2024, Published 6:51 p.m. ET

Ethan Crumbley
Source: Getty Images

Ethan Crumbley

If you go to the Oxford High School website, you'll see what one expects from a school. There are dropdown menus for its calendar as well as links to activities, athletic events, upcoming theater performances, and information for parents and faculty. A carousel of photos at the top shows a spirited school with dedicated students and staff. One thing they have that most schools do not is a link to a 3D image of the temporary memorial established for the victims of the Oxford High School shooting.

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Ethan Robert Crumbley is the former student partially responsible for this tragic addition to an otherwise normal high school website. On Nov. 21, 2021, then-15-year-old Crumbley took the lives of four of his fellow classmates, and injured eight of them. As more information about Crumbley came out, it became clear that he understood that what he would later do was wrong. If Crumbley himself is to be believed, he also tried to get help.

Where is Ethan Robert Crumbley now? Here's what we know.

Photos of the victims from the Oxford High School shooting
Source: Getty Images

Victims of the Oxford High School shooting

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Where is Ethan Robert Crumbley now? He's serving a life sentence in prison.

According to ABC 12 News, Crumbley was moved from Oakland County Jail to the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Mich., in December 2023. He had been in custody of the Oakland County Sheriff's office since his initial arrest two years prior. He is undoubtedly housed in the "unit specifically designated for youthful offenders who are convicted of adult charges."

In September 2023, ABC News reported that Crumbley was ruled eligible to serve a life sentence without parole after a Miller hearing was conducted. At this Miller hearing, "prosecutors needed to prove to the judge that life without parole was an appropriate sentence for Crumbley." Judge Kwamé L. Rowe came to this conclusion based on evidence that Crumbley took pleasure from violent acts, such as torturing animals.

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He went on to say that "[t]here is other disturbing evidence but it is clear to this court that the defendant had an obsession with violence before the shooting," Apparently Crumbley's violent tendencies continued after he was arrested. During the hearing, survivors of the shooting testified about their experiences that day which highlighted the intense fear Crumbley intended to cause.

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According to Ethan Crumbley himself, he tried asking for help.

During his trial, Crumbley's journal entries and internet searches were put on display. They tell the story of a kid who wrestled with his own demons and lost. "I wish to hear the screams of the children as I shoot them," he wrote, per Fox 2 Detroit. "I will have never maken [sic] a impact in this world. The ONLY way is to shoot up the school." Crumbley also had no interest in taking his own life because he thought doing so would make people forget him.

Mixed into his terrifying plans are misguided ways in which he tried to tell people what was going on. In one journal entry, Crumbley discusses how he tortured birds and apparently left the head of one in a jar, in a school restroom. "All one of my teachers has to do is send me to the office and I will tell them about the bird head, and I can get help," Crumbley said. "One call and that can save a lot of lives. My evil has fully taken over inside me and I used to like it, but now I don't want to be evil."

Unfortunately, Crumbley's desire to hurt others far outweighed his interest in getting help. He expressed a chilling need to hurt not just the kids he went to school with, but also their parents. It was clear he didn't care how he left a legacy, only that someone was indeed left.

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