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Basement boy on abuse: 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell talks about basement abuse

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The "Basement Boy," Charlie Bothuell, the 12-year-old Detroit boy who had gone “missing” for a week and a half before turning up in his parent’s basement, is now speaking out about the rigorous physical fitness regime and abuse that he suffered at the hands of his father and stepmother.

Reports the Washington Post on Friday: “Police found Charlie Bothuell V last month shivering and hungry, hunkered down behind a makeshift barricade made of boxes and totes in the basement of his family’s townhouse in Detroit. This week, the state filed papers, citing allegations of physical and mental abuse that led up to the lengthy ordeal. A court hearing began Thursday to terminate the parental rights of his father and stepmother.”

Charlie was discovered on June 25, and his story quickly went viral, especially after video surfaced of his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, being told on live television by shock jock HLN host Nancy Grace that little Charlie was found in the dad’s own basement.

“I checked my basement. The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement,” the father said on air while appearing to be shocked. “My wife checked my basement. I've been down there several times. We've all been checking.”

According to court papers and reports from Michigan child investigators, Charlie was forced to do a battery of almost impossible exercises twice each day – 100 push-ups and another 100 jumping jacks along with twice as many sit-ups. He had to do arm curls with a 25-pound free weight and run on a cardio machine for 5,000 revolutions. If he didn’t perform his exercises to his parent’s satisfaction, he was punished. No food was brought him; Charlie said that when the house was quiet, he would sneak upstairs to grab some snacks.

When he physically could not complete the exercises, because of being “in too much pain,” court filings say he was “beaten with a section of PVC piping.”

Police and the FBI both have commented that it’s nearly impossible that the boy was hiding in the basement when searches were done. Even cadaver dogs were brought into the Detroit home in an attempt to locate Charlie, who was eventually found hiding behind a 55-gallon drum and a makeshift wall of cardboard boxes that Charlie says his stepmother hid him behind.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at the time that he had “never seen anything quite like this. We found him barricaded in the basement, behind boxes and a large drum.”

The Wayne County juvenile court petition says that Charlie’s stepmother, Monique Arnel Dillard-Bothuell, punched him, sent him to the basement in early June and told Charlie to “shut up, stay quiet and don't say anything no matter what you hear,” adding that she “can make him disappear.” On the 23rd of June, two days before he was found, Charlie alleges his father beat him with a PVC pipe. The pipe has since been found by FBI investigators, who reported that it contained blood confirmed as belonging to Charlie.

The court document said Charlie now has a scar, the “result of his father driving a PVC pipe into his chest” and that Charlie also was “observed to have old scars on his buttocks from being hit with the pipe.”

Wayne County prosecutors are still determining what charges, if any, will be brought against the family. Another hearing is scheduled for July 17.

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