DETROIT (WWJ) – The stepmother of a 12-year-old Detroit boy found crouched in his father’s basement nearly two weeks after he was reported missing has pleaded not guilty to a probation violation.
Attorney Mark Magidson entered the plea Friday on behalf of Monique Dillard-Bothuell, who was arrested a day earlier after police said they found a gun in her home.
Dillard-Bothuell, who is currently on probation for a previous misdemeanor gun charge, was placed on a tether and given $5,000 bond, which Magidson criticized as “overkill.”
“I’ve never heard, and I’ve been doing this a long time, where five agents come to somebody’s house and arrest them on a misdemeanor probation violation. Now, maybe it’s a common thing but I would defy the last time this court has ever heard of that,” he said.
Magidson said the gun didn’t even belong to his client.
“I haven’t seen the actual weapon itself, but I have information that the weapon itself, which was not hers, was deconstructed. There were pieces of the weapon scattered throughout the premises for safety purposes,” he said.
Dillard-Bothuell is due back in court on July 11. Police, meanwhile, are still investigating what exactly happened to Charles Bothuell V, who is currently in the custody of his biological mother.
Charlie was reported missing on Saturday, June 14 after he reportedly walked away from his father’s home in the 1300 block of Nicolet Place, near Gratiot and I-375, and vanished without a trace.
As police were searching for clues, Charlie Bothuell IV, the boy’s father, and Dillard-Bothuell told reporters they felt like they were being treated like suspects despite the fact that they were cooperating with investigators.
Dillard-Bothuell refused to take a polygraph test after consulting with her attorney because she “didn’t trust to be treated fairly.” 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.
Dillard-Bothuell told reporters that Charlie’s disappearance was especially hard on her, since the boy was in her care when he vanished. She told reporters her stepson was upset shortly before he went missing because he did not finish his required workout for the day and she was going to tell his father.
On Wednesday, June 25, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said investigators found concerning evidence, including blood, in the Bothuell home, adding that they weren’t ruling out the possibility of homicide.
Hours later, as Charlie Bothuell IV was in the middle of a live appearance on CNN with Nancy Grace, police announced that Charlie was found hiding the basement of his father’s home. Craig said officers were serving a search warrant at the home when they stumbled upon the boy.
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.”
Investigators aren’t allowing Charlie to have contact with his father or stepmother as they continue to focus on circumstances surrounding his disappearance and recovery.
Dillard-Bothuell’s two children have been placed into Children’s Protective Services custody.