Charlie Bothuell won’t quickly forget his appearance on the Nancy Grace show. Bothuell, who appeared on the tough-talking television journalist’s show on Wednesday to discuss his missing boy and to appeal for help, was told on live television by Grace that his 12-year-old son, Charlie Jr., was found alive – in the father’s own basement!
“We are getting reports that your son has been found, alive, in your basement,” Grace tells the shocked father from Detroit.
Bothuell looks off camera briefly, purses his lips and puts his hands out. After breathing out heavily, and after Grace prompts him to say something, all the dad can manage is: “What!?”
Clutching his chest and looking around, Bothuell is asked by Grace: "How can your son be alive in your basement?"
Bothuell is at a loss for words. Panting hard, he eventually stammers out that he has “no idea.”
Grace tells him that the report is unconfirmed (it was later confirmed) and asked Bothuell if he checked the basement for the boy, who had been missing for eleven days. Bothuell said he checked it, multiple times, and that the FBI, Detroit Police and his wife had searched the basement and the “entire house repeatedly,” adding that cadaver dogs were even brought in.
Grace asked the father if he checked his cell phone for confirmation that his boy was found, but Bothuell replied that it was dead.
Detroit police said that Charlie Jr. was found in a portion of the basement that was blocked off, along with a supply of food.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Wednesday that the 12-year-old was found crouching behind a makeshift barricade of boxes in the basement. Detroit police spokeswoman Jennifer Moreno told NBC News on Thursday that detectives found cereal and soda with the boy when they discovered him.
“I've never seen anything quite like this,” Craig told reporters. “But the outcome – I couldn't be happier,” he said, adding that Charlie Jr. was removed from the home and will “get two things – medical treatment and some food.”
The circumstances surrounding the discovery of the boy remain shrouded in mystery. Chief Craig said that while it seemed unlikely the pre-teen could have built the barricade himself, it also appears that search teams and cadaver dogs would most certainly have spotted the boy hiding behind a makeshift wall of boxes.
“He was nervous but excited, and glad to see the police,” Craig said of the boy’s reaction.
NBC picks up the story:
The boy's father had said the last time he saw Charlie was at his home, when his son took a bathroom break from working out and never came back. Craig said Wednesday that Charlie's father had been administered a lie-detector test by the FBI, but the results were inconclusive, WDIV reported.
No criminal charges were being pursued at this point, the police spokeswoman said.
Investigators had found traces of blood in the house earlier in their investigation, WDIV reported, but Detroit police would not confirm that to NBC News.
The family has been outspoken at denying the charge that everyone has immediately concluded: That one or more of the family members were involved.
Bothuell’s mother, Charlie Jr.’s grandmother, said: “My son has nothing to do with this. I know my son.”
Some have suggested that Bothuell’s wife, who is a stepmother to Charlie Jr., was involved. Bothuell called that “absurd.”
“My wife wouldn't do that,” he said.
Police are still investigating how the boy went missing and why he was in the basement. What are your thoughts on this bizarre story? Hash it out in comments below.