Missing Detroit boy was found crouching in his family’s basement

Charles Bothuell IV speaks to the media after finding out that his son, Charlie Bothuell V, was found alive in the basement of his home in Detroit on Wednesday.
(Kimberly P. Mitchell / Detroit Free Press)

A 12-year-old Detroit boy who had been missing since June 14 was released from a hospital Thursday, one day after police discovered him in his family’s basement hidden by a makeshift barricade.

Charlie Bothuell V was found on Wednesday when police executed a search warrant at the home.

The case had caught the attention of national media since the home had already been searched several times by police, including with cadaver dogs. Shortly before the boy was found, police even had suggested the possibility of homicide.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said investigators were questioning the boy’s family.


Late Thursday, the boy’s stepmother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, was taken into custody on an unrelated charge, the Detroit Free Press reported, after police found a handgun in her home in violation of her probation for a 2013 weapons offense.

At a news conference Wednesday, Craig talked about the surprising turn in the investigation. He said the boy was found crouching behind a large container, part of a makeshift barricade that police don’t believe the child could have made himself. There also appeared to be food nearby.

“In 37 years of policing, I will tell you, I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Craig said. “But the outcome, I couldn’t be happier.”

Craig said authorities had searched the home several times, but it is unclear whether the boy was in the basement the entire time.

“It would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that someone didn’t know” Charlie was there, Craig said. “But I can’t say definitively.”

Craig said that if it’s determined there is evidence of child abuse, then “our investigation will take a turn in that direction.”

In an unusual twist, the boy’s father, Charles Bothuell IV, was being interviewed live by Nancy Grace when Grace learned police had found the boy and told Bothuell the news. Bothuell quickly said he did not have his phone on him at the time.

“For anybody to imply that I somehow knew that my son was in the basement, it’s absurd and it’s wrong,” the elder Bothuell later told local reporters. “I love my son. I’m glad that he’s home and he’s going to have the great future that he deserves to have.”

Police said the boy is staying with his birth mother and has not had contact with his father and stepmother yet.

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