DETROIT (AP/WWJ) — A boy missing for 11 days before he was found in his Detroit basement is returning to court to testify against his father and stepmother.
Charlie Bothuell and Monique Dillard-Bothuell are charged with torture and child abuse. A judge must decide whether there’s enough evidence to send them to trial in Wayne County court.
The boy, also named Charlie Bothuell, is returning to court on Wednesday. Two weeks ago, he testified that his home was a “very terrible place” where he was beaten with a plastic pipe and forced to rise before dawn for rigorous workouts. Defense lawyers say he’s lying.
Charlie, now 13, was 12 years old last June when police found him in the family’s cluttered basement after a highly publicized search. His father was surprised.
In his first round of testimony, Charlie spoke clearly and confidently as he pointed out the defendants: his father, Charlie Bothuell IV; and stepmother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, in the courtroom.
Charlie was questioned by prosecutors about everything from his home-schooling curriculum to where he slept in the house. On the latter subject, he said, for a time he slept in a den that was made up into a bedroom, and then later slept on a couch.
Bothuell told the prosecutor that his home was a horrible and isolated place.
Asked if he ever spent time with friends, to which he replied, “No…I never went outside unless I was allowed.” For instance, he said, to go to school or the grocery store. He also described playing catch with a baseball with his father “one time,” and visiting a park another.
Once, Charlie testified, he ran away. “The plan was to go to my aunt’s house,” he said, but he ended up just wandering around for two or three hours until police officers took him home.
After the police left, Charlie said, he was told to lay over the dining room table before he was spanked by his father with a wooden stick and a plastic PVC pipe.