DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit boy missing for 11 days during a highly publicized search until he was found in his basement was the victim of physical and psychological abuse, a doctor testified Friday at a hearing to determine if his father and stepmother will stand trial.
Police found Charlie Bothuell V among boxes last June, a stunning turnabout in a search that involved local, state and federal officers. The discovery led to allegations that his father and stepmother forced him to go through rigorous twice-a-day workouts, kept him away from other kids, deprived him of proper food and abused him.
Charlie Bothuell IV and Monique Dillard-Bothuell are charged with child abuse and torture. They have pleaded not guilty.
Dr. Dena Nazer of Children’s Hospital of Michigan didn’t examine Charlie or speak to him. But she was allowed to testify based on a review of his medical records, photos and his statements to other medical staff.
Nazer said Charlie, 12 at the time, indicated that his stepmother sent him to the basement because he didn’t do a workout, which typically involved hundreds of sit-ups, pushups and thousands of revolutions on an elliptical machine, twice a day.
She said the boy had marks on his chest and buttocks, which were consistent with his claim that he had been beaten with a plastic pipe.
“He was subjected to more than one kind of child abuse,” Nazer told a judge. “He was subjected to child physical abuse and psychological abuse in terms of isolation and deprivation.”
The doctor’s testimony didn’t reveal much new information. Authorities for months have alleged that Charlie was abused.
Dillard-Bothuell’s attorney repeatedly asked Nazer if she was familiar with the exercise routine of young athletes, a suggestion that Charlie’s drills weren’t unusual.
“She’s not a sports coach. She’s a doctor,” Judge Shannon Holmes said, stopping the questions.
Charlie now is 13. The hearing will resume on April 14.
The case unfolded last June, after Bothuell called police to report 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 his son was found alive, a shocked 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.
Charlie remains in the custody of his biological mother.
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