Missing boy found alive in parents’ basement, father finds out on live TV

Michigan investigators are learning more about what happened to a Michigan boy after he vanished for almost two weeks, then suddenly turned up in the basement of his father and stepmother’s home in Detroit.Police talked with Charlie Bothuell for the first time Thursday about his disappearance and the events leading up to the bizarre discovery of the boy hidden away in the basement on Wednesday.

“We are getting some good information from Charlie,” said Detroit Police spokesman Sgt Michael Woody, but he wouldn’t reveal what the boy said.

Police may talk with the 12-year-old, again, as soon as Friday. “We’re getting all the information we can for prosecutors so they can decide whether they’ll be able to file charges, if any, ” Woody added.

The boy, who was turned over to his mother’s custody, met with child psychologists Thursday before talking to police.

While Woody did say authorities are not ruling out child abuse in the case, he would not comment on whether there was any sign of physical abuse on the child.

In another development Thursday the boy’s stepmother was arrested. She was taken into custody for a probation violation on an unrelated weapons charge, police confirmed.

Authorities obtained a warrant for her arrest on Monday, but waited until Thursday to take her into custody. “The most important thing for us, at the time, was finding Charlie,” Woody said.

Boy discovered in basement

The boy was discovered in the basement behind a barricade Wednesday after numerous searches of the home in the days following his disappearance on June 14.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told CNN affiliate WXYZ-TV.

“We found him barricaded in the basement, behind boxes and a large … drum. There’s no way he could have erected this makeshift area of concealment.”

Police said when they found the child in the basement, it appeared he had recently arrived there and didn’t appear to be captive.

Still, Woody said that evidence — including bloody clothing that investigators found at the home — indicates something might have been “afoul.”

The child’s father is not allowed to have any contact with his son while the investigation continues. Woody said this is standard operating procedure in such a case.

Police spokesman: Charlie didn’t appear to be captive

Police were executing a search warrant at the home Wednesday afternoon when they found Charlie in a corner of a small basement room behind a furnace and a mechanical unit.

Woody said something in particular led police to the basement but declined to say what it was.

Charlie smiled at police and didn’t appear to be a captive, Woody said.

It appeared he arrived there recently, and investigators found cereal and soda in the area, Woody said.

The basement had no restroom, but investigators are working on an assumption that he had access to one, according to Woody.

Woody said police have not ruled out charges in the case. He said investigators found bloody clothing at the home but did not elaborate on its significance or say where exactly it was found.

On Wednesday, Craig, the police chief, said investigators had searched the home four times, including once with a cadaver dog.

“We’re not certain Charlie was here during those visits,” he said.

Police Chief Craig was asked during an impromptu news conference Wednesday whether an adult was responsible for hiding the boy in the basement.

“We’re not ruling that out,” he said. “It would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that someone didn’t know Charlie was there, but I can’t say definitively.”

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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3 comments

  • Jennifer Sutton

    It is suspicious why he stayed and answered questions instead of leaving immediately to go see his son. If my child had been missing for 11 days, the my first instinct would have been to run to him and see him, hold him, and check to make sure that he was okay. There is something very weird about this.

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