Charlie Bothuell V, the 12-year-old boy missing for 11 days who was found alive in his father’s basement, has been released from a Detroit hospital. According to Michael Woody, sergeant in the Detroit Police Department, Charlie has undergone a medical evaluation and is “in good condition.” Sgt. Woody revealed that investigators have not yet had the opportunity to speak with the boy regarding his disappearance, but acknowledges that his parents will have to answer many more questions in light of the boy’s discovery.
Also still unknown, declared Woody, is whether Charlie had been in his father’s basement hiding from searchers since he was last seen on June 14. Police discovered blood and a PVC pipe in the father’s home and will be testing the blood for identification. Finding those items earlier in the week led police to hold a press conference on Wednesday in which they left open the possibility that Charlie had been killed, even though cadaver dogs had been led through the house last week. Woody made clear that the blood and the pipe are still being considered as evidence in the case. In addition, Charlie’s three parents – his father, mother and stepmother – remain under investigation.
Charlie’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, indicated to the media that he was “shocked” to find out that his son was discovered hiding in the basement of his townhome while police were executing a search warrant on Wednesday. Charlie Bothuell IV told reporters that not only had he searched the home a number of times, the FBI and the police had also repeatedly combed the house for traces of his son.
When officers located 12-year-old Charlie in the basement behind a large plastic container and some boxes, he seemed as if he was hiding, said the chief of Detroit police, James Craig, who also commented that it seemed very unlikely that the boy could have climbed behind the boxes and the barrel by himself. In addition, Craig described the boy as being “really excited” to see the police, which lends credence to the idea that he had not been hiding in the basement by his own choice.
Reports indicate that the boy was found with “fresh food” available for him to eat, but Woody would not comment as to the veracity of that information. Police did reveal that Charlie Bothuell V was found with bedding nearby. They do not believe that the boy spent the entire length of his disappearance in the basement.
During the search for his missing son, Charlie Bothuell IV complained that investigators were treating both he and his wife, Monique, as though they were suspects even though they cooperated fully with the investigation. He also underwent a polygraph test after being reassured that the FBI, not the Detroit Police Department, would administer the exam. Charlie Bothuell IV claims to have had a “negative experience” with the Detroit police in the past. According to reports, the lie detector test came back inconclusive.
During Wednesday’s police news conference to announce that the boy had been found alive in his father’s basement, his father, who had been in the middle of a tearful interview with Nancy Grace of CNN, interrupted the chief to declare that he had been unaware that his son was in the basement hiding, adding “I’m a nurse. I take care of people.”
Officials would not reveal to which home the boy was released, but according to Police Chief James Craig, his parents “have a lot of questions to answer.”
By Jennifer Pfalz