Missing Mich. boy: Stepmom put me in the basement

Missing Mich. boy: Stepmom put me in the basement

Credit: Detroit Free Press, courtesy of the Detroit Police Department

Charlie Bothuell V

Print
Email
|

by Eric D. Lawrence and Gina Damron / Detroit Free Press

NWCN.com

Posted on June 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

DETROIT — Charlie Bothuell V, missing for days before being found Wednesday, told authorities he was placed in the basement behind boxes and totes by his stepmother and told "not to come out, no matter what he hears," according to court records obtained Friday by the Detroit Free Press. 

In a petition filed Friday by Children's Protective Services, 12-year-old Charlie told officials that although his stepmother — Monique Dillard-Bothuell — knew he was in the basement, she did not bring him food.
 
"Charlie reports sneaking upstairs to get food when everyone left the home," the petition says.
 
These new details have emerged on the heels of authorities removing Charlie's two younger siblings — ages 4 years and 10 months — from the custody of Dillard-Bothuell and Charlie Bothuell IV, who is Charlie's father.
 
The document also offers more information about the abuse Charlie reported he suffered.
 
Charlie, who police found barricaded in the basement of his home while executing a search warrant, told authorities his father physically abused him with a PVC pipe.
 
According to the petition, when Charlie was taken to Children's Hospital of Michigan for treatment after being found, a doctor observed a half-circular scar on the child's chest. Charlie said the scar was "a result of his father driving a PVC pipe into his chest," according to the petition, which also says the child had old scars on his buttocks from being hit with the pipe.
 
During a search of the home, authorities recovered a PVC pipe with blood on it, the petition says. It's unclear whose blood it is.
 
Bothuell has denied abusing his son. Mark Magidson, Bothuell's attorney, also denied that a pipe was used to beat Charlie. Magidson said that blood found on the child's clothing was from eczema.
 
"The young man had eczema. ... He scratched it like crazy," Magidson said.
 
A warrant request in connection with the case has not yet been turned over to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, a spokeswoman for the office said shortly before 5 p.m.
 
Magidson said they expect charges.
 
"We're ready," he said.
 
Meanwhile, a probable cause hearing is scheduled for July 10 on the petition in juvenile court.
 
According to the petition, Charlie's grandmother told an FBI investigator that the last time she saw Charlie, "he was very skinny, and almost looked like a cancer patient. He had marks all over his arms and chest."
 
Charlie's two younger siblings were removed by Michigan Children's Protective Services on Thursday.
 
The petition says that because of the allegations of abuse involving Charlie, the other two children should not be in the care of their parents. Referee Leslie Graves ordered that the parents could have supervised visits with the two children at a CPS location.
 
Charlie Bothuell IV appeared in juvenile court with his attorney, while Dillard-Bothuell, who was arraigned earlier Friday on a probation violation, listened in by phone during the hearing. Dillard-Bothuell will retain her own attorney in the custody case, while Magidson will represent Bothuell.
 
"My client is presumed innocent of all charges, the children would not be placed in harms' way," Magidson said. "Up until yesterday, these two parents were taking excellent care of these two children."
 
The petition filed in juvenile court claims that the "home or environment, by reason of neglect, cruelty, drunkenness, criminality, or depravity on the part of the parent, guardian, nonparent adult, or other custodian, is an unfit place for the child(ren) to live."
 
It also claims that the parents "neglected or refused to provide proper or necessary support, education, medical, surgical, or other care necessary for the child(ren)'s health or morals, or he/she has subjected the child(ren) to substantial risk of harm to his or her mental well-being, or he/she has abandoned the child(ren) without proper custody or guardianship."
 
The 4-year-old and 10-month-old are in the custody of Dillard-Bothuell's family.
 
Dillard-Bothuell, on probation for a weapons charge from 2013, was given a $5,000 personal bond Friday and ordered to wear a GPS tether. A hearing on the probation violation is scheduled for July 11.
 
Outside of the courthouse Friday, Bothuell declined comment. A registered nurse, Bothuell was wearing scrubs as he dodged questions from reporters. He said Magidson had advised him not to speak.
 
Charlie is now staying with his mother and other relatives on Detroit's east side.
 
The boy left his home about 9 p.m. ET June 14 after Dillard-Bothuell had a discussion with him over unfinished chores. The boy was in the middle of a workout when he left. The search began that night.
 
After several searches of the family's home, police on Wednesday found Charlie in a small mechanical room in the basement, concealed by a makeshift barricade, crouched behind a large container with some food, including cereal and pop bottles. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Thursday that Charlie had been in another location during earlier searches of the house or police would have discovered him.
 
"It was somewhat staged, but ... you could tell he was there for a short while," Detroit police spokesman Michael Woody said Thursday. "It wasn't any grand, elaborate setup."
 
Woody said that when he was found, Charlie was wearing the same clothes he'd had on when he disappeared. On Wednesday, Craig said Charlie was happy to see police.
 
On Monday, a bench warrant was issued for Dillard-Bothuell for violating her probation after a handgun was found in her home while police executed a search warrant in connection with Charlie's disappearance.
 
According to court records, police recovered the gun while Dillard-Bothuell was present.
 
According to Bothuell, Charlie had been homeschooled for the last couple of years after some early struggles. However, recent discussions had focused on moving to the suburbs and enrolling Charlie in school there. Magidson said Charlie had been told that if he failed to do well he could be enrolled in military school.
 
The search for Charlie took a bizarre turn Wednesday. Craig held a news conference to announce that police were not ruling out the possibility of homicide in the case, then followed hours later with news that the boy had been found alive.
 
As Craig announced that the boy had been found, Bothuell learned the news from cable TV show host Nancy Grace on live television. He left the interview and rushed to his home, where video images showed him collapsing in the arms of WDIV-TV reporter Guy Gordon after learning the news.
 
Bothuell was adamant that he did not know his son was in the basement and said "there was no abuse of my son."

Print
Email
|