On a warm June 14 night, 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell skipped out of doing his chores and walked out of his parents’ Detroit home. Later that night, Charlie’s step-mom called his dad to say that their son was missing. Family, friends, the Detroit Police and the FBI searched the area and the house, but to no avail. On June 25, after 11 days missing, young Charlie was found alive and well and seemingly in hiding in his dad’s Detroit basement.
This Wednesday, while at the dad’s house serving a search warrant as part of their investigation into the missing child, the Detroit cops discovered Charlie in the basement behind the furnace and barricaded “behind boxes and a large five-gallon drum,” according to CNN. Makeshift bedding was also found in the area. Police don’t believe that the boy had been hiding out in the basement for the entire time he’d been missing, but confess that they don’t know exactly how long he had been there.
Making for a dramatic TV moment, Charlie’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, was in the middle of an HLN TV interview with Nancy Grace when he learned that his son had been found alive and well, and in his house. The Christian Science Monitor quoted the dad as saying "I thought my son was dead," as he later broke down in tears and hugged a reporter outside of his Detroit home.
When Grace told him the news, Bothuell became visibly upset, looking dazed and bewildered, breathing hard and clutching his chest.
You can see that HLN interview between Grace and Bothuell here. Sgt. Mike Woody, a spokesperson for the Detroit Police Department, said by all appearances, it looked as if the child had just recently arrived in the basement, adding that it didn’t look as if the boy was being held captive. Woody said that when police found him, Charlie smiled at them. The boy had snacks and drinks handy in the basement.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said when police found Charlie Bothuell V, he appeared to be hiding and did not announce himself. Hours earlier, Craig had told reporters that investigators were "not ruling out the possibility of homicide" in the case.
The child was taken for a medical examination. Craig said he seemed nervous and excited, adding that "He indicated he was hungry. He appeared fine."
Although suspicious, Craig said that police can’t say for certain that any adults were involved in Charlie’s disappearance or had anything to do with the 12 year old hiding out in the basement. Craig also reported yesterday that the father “had taken a polygraph test about his son's disappearance, but the boy's stepmother declined to do so.”
The elder Bothuell claims not to have any knowledge of his son’s whereabouts for the 11 days that young Charlie was missing, saying that "I'm shocked. I looked. The Detroit police looked. The FBI looked."
"To imply that I knew my son was in the basement is absurd."
For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.