Charlie Bothuell V was last seen June 14. His stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell told police the boy didn’t complete his daily exercise routine and she informed his father. Worried how his father would react, Charlie took off and never came back.
After numerous visits to the home, now a crime scene to investigate young Charlie’s disappearance, police noticed on their fifth visit to the family’s town house on Nicolet Place, that something was different. In the basement outside a door that is connected to an underground tunnel – a barricade, and behind that, some food, a place to sleep and 12-year-old Charlie crouched down behind a barrel.
“There’s no way he could have erected this make-shift area of concealment, I’ll call it. He certainly was excited to see us. I had a chance to actually talk to and embrace Charlie,” says Detroit Police Chief James Craig.
In the basement where Charlie was found, a tunnel leads from apartment to apartment and to the outside. The boy likely could have come and gone whenever he needed to.
The boy, who was home schooled and on a strict exercise routine, was often beaten with a PVC pipe that has now been taken as evidence. Police are investigating a serious case of child abuse, which we’re told the father considered discipline.
Sources say blood was found in the boy’s room and on some of his clothes. That’s why police widened the scope of the investigation and, at first, wouldn’t rule homicide out.
His father admits to discipline but maintains his son was never abused.
“It’s only evidence if there was some crime committed. No crime committed here. That’s not what happened,” the father says.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Charlie was treated at Children’s Hospital and released. He is said to be in good physical health. He spent the night in the hospital with his biological mother and is currently residing with her.
This morning, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, the stepmother of Charlie V, appeared in court.
In 2013, Dillard-Bothuell was arrested and convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without a valid license and sentenced to probation. While authorities were searching her townhouse for her previously missing stepson, they found a deconstructed gun, which violated the terms of her probation.
Monique Dillard-Bothuell is expected to be released on personal bond with a tether. Her bond was set at $5 thousand.
The Bothuell children are now in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Check out this video of the missing boy’s father as Nancy Grace informs him, his son was found alive in his basement