It wasn’t just where a 12-year-old Detroit boy, who was missing for nearly two weeks, was found that’s surprising those looking for him, but how his family was informed of his reappearance that’s adding drama to the case.
The first time Charlie Bothuell V’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, learned that his son was alive and where he was found was on live TV as he appeared on HLN with Nancy Grace, initially going on the show to beg the community for help in finding the boy.
Just where was the preteen located? In the basement of his father’s home.
Though police had searched the elder Bothuell’s townhome several times after his son was reported missing on June 14, on Wednesday investigators spotted a door in the basement that they found led to an underground tunnel. In that tunnel, WJBK-TV reported, they found a barricade, food, bedding and the younger Bothuell hiding behind a barrel.
“Charlie, we’re getting reports that your son has been found in your basement,” Grace said.
Bothuell’s reaction was one of stunned silence.
“We are getting reports that your son was found alive,” Grace said again. “We are getting reports that your son was found alive in your basement.”
“What?” Bothuell said, breathing heavily and holding his chest, seeming to express disbelief.
“I checked my basement. The FBI checked my basement. The Detroit police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement. I’ve been down there several times, we’ve all been checking,” Bothuell said.
Watch Bothuell’s reaction on Nancy Grace:
“There’s no way he could have erected this make-shift area of concealment, I’ll call it. He certainly was excited to see us. I had a chance to actually talk and embrace Charlie [Bothuell V],” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told WJBK after the boy’s discovery.
WDIV-TV reported that investigators are not sure if the boy was in the tunnel the whole time he was missing.
The news station reported that the boy credited his stepmother, Monique, as helping him hide out, which the family’s attorney denied.
“My client, Mr. Bothuell and his wife, had no participation in this. They would have not brought this entire media circus, … FBI, all of this — for what purpose? For what gain?” Mark Magidson, the Bothuell’s lawyer, told WJBK.
“To imply that I knew my son was in the basement is absurd,” Bothuell IV said.
Monique Bothuell reported her stepson missing nearly two weeks ago after she said the boy hadn’t completed his workout routine and that his father was told of it. She said that the boy ran away, worried about how his father would react.
Both Bothuell IV and Monqiue Bothuell could face child abuse charges. WJBK has more on this aspect of the case:
There was several searches for the boy, but there may be a reason Charlie did not want to be found. Police are investigating a serious case of child abuse we’re told the father considered discipline.
The boy, who was homeschooled and on a strict exercise routine, was often beat with a PVC pipe that has now been taken in as evidence.
In fact, sources say blood was found in the boy’s room and on some of his clothes. That’s why police widened the scope of the investigation and, at first, wouldn’t rule homicide out.
His father admits to discipline but maintains his son was never abused.
WXYZ-TV reported that sources, who were not named, said Bothuell IV failed a lie detector test administered by the authorities, while his stepmother declined to take one.
After being found, the boy was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Wednesday evening Bothuell IV cried and said, “I thought my son was dead.”