A Detroit dad who appeared stunned when grilled by Nancy Grace on national TV as police held a news conference last month announcing his 12-year-old son had been found in his basement after an 11-day search may lose his parental rights.
The bizarre case captured national attention after police scoured Michigan’s largest city for nearly two weeks looking for the boy, who had been reported missing by his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, on Father's Day.
The boy, who was found June 25, told investigators that he had been beaten with PVC pipe by his father, threatened by stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuel to keep quiet during repeated searches for him in the basement of the family’s home on Nicolet Place in Lafayette Park, The Detroit News reports.
Those and other allegations of abuse are detailed in a six-page report filed in Wayne County Circuit Court by the Michigan Department of Human Services to terminate the the parental rights of the boy’s father and stepmother. A probable cause hearing was held Thursday.
In the petition, the adolescent Charlie said he was not fed for days and would sneak upstairs when his parents were gone to get food, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The petition also details gruelling workouts at dawn and in the evening that included 100 push-ups and 100 jumping jacks, twice the number of situps, 25 arm curls per arm with a 25-pound weight, and 5,000 revolutions an elliptical trainer.
The boy said the workouts and physical beatings left him too sore to sit or walk. One beating with the PVC pipe, spotted with blood when the FBI seized it last month, split open the skin on his buttocks in several places, investigators alleged. The boy had reportedly also been beaten with the pipe on his feet, chest, head, thighs, sides and arms.
His stepmother punched him once and made menacing threats, the boy alleged to investigators, including saying at one time that “unlike you, I know where the sharp knives are” and “I can make you disappear.”
Neither parent has been charged with a crime, but Dillard-Bothuell was expected to appear at a probation hearing Friday on a 2013 weapons charge, the Detroit Free Press reports. Police found the gun in the home last month when they found young Charlie hidden behind a makeshift barricade.
His stepmother had reportedly led him to the basement on June 14, the same day his father reported him missing, when complained about the rigorous workouts. “if you don’t want anything bad to happen, you better get out my face,” Dillard-Bothuell reportedly said. “I’ve got a place for you to go.”
The parental rights termination hearing will continue July 17 in Wayne County Juvenile Court. It also seeks to terminate Charlie Bothuell V’s parental rights for his other children, a 4-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter, who are being cared for by a relative.
Charlie Bothuell V is living with his biological mother. He reportedly said that he was “excited” when he heard investigators say they were going to move the box he had been hidden behind on June 25.
“I knew they were going to find me,” he told investigators.
We are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement … we’re getting that right now, how could your son be alive in your basement?”
He stammered, then finally said “I have no idea …”
The elder Bothuell vehemently denied any wrongdoing at the time and offered to take a lie-detector test.“For anyone to imply that I somehow knew that my son was on the basement, it’s absurd and wrong,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I love my son. I’m glad that he’s home and he’s going to have the great future that he deserves to have.”