DETROIT (WWJ) – Charges have been brought against the father and stepmother of a Detroit boy who was discovered in the bowel’s of his family’s condo after an 11-day disappearance.
Charles Bothuell IV, 46, and Monique Dillard-Bothuell, 37, were arraigned in 36th District Court Friday on charges of torture and second-degree child abuse.
Magistrate Laura Echartea set bond at $500,000 cash/surety each.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy alleges that Bothuell and his wife “systematically physically abused the child, forced him to live in the basement and not socialize with others, intentionally deprived him of food and forced him to engage in an extreme and unreasonable exercise regime.”
The whole situation unfolded last June, after Bothuell called police to report his 12-year-old son, Charlie, missing from their home in the 1300 block of Nicolet Place in Detroit.
The boy was found 11 days later by a Michigan State Police sergeant and FBI agent, hiding behind boxes in the basement of his home. At the time, he was observed to be very thin, with marks on his upper body.
When the boy was found alive, Bothuell was in the middle of a live TV interview with Nancy Grace. He was speechless when Grace said his son was discovered in the basement.
A petition filed in Wayne County’s family court alleges that Dillard-Bothuell ordered the boy to complete extreme daily workouts and hide in the basement as a punishment. Another petition indicates that Bothuell admitted to physically disciplining his son, at times severely enough to leave scars.
“Charlie V has experienced physical abuse by his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, for the entire two years he has resided in Mr. Bothuell’s residence,” the report read. “The abuse included being physically disciplined with a PVC pipe on his butt, feet, chest, head, thighs, sides, and arms.”
The boy told investigators that he was forced to wake up at 5 a.m. and complete two workouts per day, 7 days a week. The morning and evening workouts consisted of the following:
- 100 push-ups, 200 sit ups, 100 jumping jacks, 25 arm curls on each arm with a 25lb weight, and 5000 revolutions on the Elliptical Trainer.
- The evening workout consisted of the same routine, but instead of 5000 revolutions, Charlie had to complete 4000 revolutions on the Elliptical Trainer.
- Charlie reports having to complete the entire workout “in under an hour or I would have to do it again.”
- Charlie reports there were times when he was in too much pain to complete his workout, due to being hit with the PVC pipe on his feet. If he failed to complete the workout, he would “be in trouble again.”
“We are thankful that the victim was found alive,” Worthy said in a statement. “This is the first time that the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has charged torture for a living child. Based upon the allegations, if any case warrants child torture charges, this one certainly does.”
WWJ Legal Analyst says that while the child abuse charges did not come as a surprise, if convicted of torture, the Bothuells could serve up to life in prison.
“Torture: an unusual charge; doesn’t happen very often — especially when the victim is still living,” Langton said.
“Likely there’s gonna be a lot of witnesses that’ll testify as to the torture, the intense punishment inflicted over a number of days — even months, perhaps, on little Charlie Bothuell.”
The pair will be back in court for a probable cause conference on Friday, Feb. 27, at 8:30 a.m. A preliminary examination in the case is set for on Thursday, March 5.
Charlie remains in the custody of his biological mother.