Boy found in basement was abused by father, stepmom, petition says

Boy found in basement was abused by father, stepmom, petition says
Charlie Bothuell IV leaves court on June 27 after a hearing for his wife, Monique Dillard-Bothuell. Two days earlier, his 12-year-old son, Charlie Bothuell V, who had been reported missing, was discovered in the family's basement. (Eric Lawrence / Associated Press)

The 12-year-old Detroit boy, Charlie Bothuell V, who was reported missing and then discovered hidden in his family's basement was beaten with a PVC pipe so severely by his father that he was covered in scars and too sore to sit, according to a petition submitted in court Thursday by Michigan's child-welfare agency.

The state agency wants to terminate the parental rights of the boy's father and stepmother and put him in the care of his biological mother, according to the petition by the Michigan Department of Human Services that was published online by a local TV station.


The petition sheds light on the circumstances leading up to the reported disappearance of the boy, the subsequent police search and his dramatic discovery by police.

The 12-year-old told the FBI in a forensic interview that he had been abused for the two years that he had lived with his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and a medical examination of the boy found a scar on his chest and on his buttocks, according to the petition.

"The abuse included being physically disciplined with a PVC pipe on his butt, feet, chest, head, thighs, sides and arms," according to the state petition. "Charlie V reported being physically disciplined so severely by Mr. Bothuell with the PVC pipe, the skin on his buttocks split opened in several areas."

The boy also said he was verbally abused by his stepmother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, who told him she would kill him and that "unlike you, I know where the sharp knives are," and "I can make you disappear."

Charlie Bothuell V also was forced to complete two intense workouts per day including 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 100 jumping jacks, 25 arm curls on each arm with a 25-pound weight, and 5,000 revolutions on an elliptical training machine.

The boy told investigators that just before his reported disappearence his stepmother, angry because she believed he was lying about finishing his daily workout, told him to go behind a 5-gallon drum in the basement and stay there. He said she told him to "shut up, stay quiet, and don't say anything no matter what you hear."

Charlie also told investigators that he was often denied food and water while in the basement and would have to sneak upstairs to search for food.

The attorney for Dillard-Bothuell, Mark Magidson, told the Associated Press that although there may have been "corporal punishment on some occasions," there was no child abuse.

When police found the boy in the basement on June 25, he was "shivering and hungry," the petition states.

When police interviewed Charlie afterward, he said: "I was so excited when I heard they were going to move the box I was behind, because I knew they were going to find me."

A decision on parental rights was not made Thursday and Charlie's father and stepmother are due back in court next week, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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