DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A 12-year-old boy missing for 11 days was found alive and well in the basement of his father’s townhome.
Police Chief James Craig said officers were serving a search warrant at the home near downtown Wednesday afternoon when they stumbled upon young Charlie Bothuell V.
It was the fourth time officers were inside the home, and Craig told reporters police are “not certain Charlie was here during those visits.”
“He indicated that he was hungry,” said Craig. “Certainly I saw evidence that there was food around the area where he was hiding — but he seemed to be both nervous and excited. In terms of his medical condition, he’s being medically evaluated now, so I don’t know what the doctors are going to find during their examination; but he appeared fine when I saw him. He’s safe and in protective custody.”
Craig, earlier Wednesday, told reporters that investigators searching for the boy were “not ruling out the possibility of homicide” but still hoped to find him alive.
It had been nearly two weeks since anyone has seen Charlie Bothuell V, who reportedly walked away from his home on Nicolet Place, near Gratiot and I-375, around 9 p.m. Saturday, June 14.
The boy’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, said he had no idea his son was in the basement.
“I’m, I’m, I’m shocked,” he told reporters, “because I looked, like I said…the Detroit police looked, the FBI looked, repeatedly they’ve been through here; they’ve been in my house until three in the morning on occasions and all night.
“…When the lieutenant kept me and my family at the police station from 10 p.m. til 6 a.m. the Detroit police and the task force where here all night executing search warrants,” Charlie Bothuell IV said. “So to say that, um, you know…for anybody to imply that I somehow knew my son was in the basement, it’s absurd.”
When reporters asked the dad about his range of emotions during this time he said through tears, “man, I thought my son was dead, man.”
“As a parent, you do everything you can to keep as close a tract on your kids as you can,” he added.
“We had extra keys around,” Charlie Bothuell IV said, when asked if his son could have gotten in and out of the house on his own. “So, it’s possible….we have extra keys.”
The father said he desperately wanted to be reunited with his son.
“I love my son,” he said, “I’m glad that he’s home and he’s going to have the great future that he deserves to have.”
Thursday morning, Detroit Police Public Information Officer Eren Stephens told WWJ the boy had been medically evaluated and was found to be “in good condition.” She said he continues to be monitored by police.
Asked if any charges were expected in the case, Stephens said only that “it’s an ongoing investigation.”
As police searched for any sign of the child’s whereabouts, Charlie Bothuell IV and his wife Monique, told WWJ they felt like they were being treated like suspects despite the fact they were cooperating with police.
Charlie Bothuell IV submitted to a polygraph test, but only after demanding it be conducted by the FBI due to a “negative experience” with the Detroit Police Department. Reports say the test’s results were inconclusive.
“When they mentioned a lie detector test, the FBI agent who was here with the task force said DPD was going to be doing it and I said ‘Not a chance,’” Charlie Bothuell IV told WWJ’s Mike Campbell. “And he said ‘OK, well, I have an FBI agent who will do it at 10 in the morning’ and I said ‘OK, I’m there,’ because I want my son found.”
The case has gained national attention – Charlie Bothuell IV discussed his son’s disappearance on CNN with Nancy Grace, saying the boy ran away a few years ago, but he was eventually found near his mother’s home.
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