DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – The parents of 13-year old Charles Bothuell will stand trial on child abuse, but not torture charges. A 36th District Court Judge made the decision Wednesday afternoon on the 8th day of a preliminary hearing in which the boy and police officers testified.
The Detroit boy, then 12, was reported missing for 11 days last summer but was eventually found in the basement of his home.
The search for Charlie Bothuell led to an investigation of his father, also named Charlie Bothuell, and Monique Dillard-Bothuell.
Charlie says he was struck with a stick or PVC pipe if he disappointed his dad and stepmother, and described his home as a “terrible place.”
During earlier testimony, Charlie said he was ordered to the basement by his stepmother as a punishment. He says he never called for help during the 11-day period, although police and others had been in the home during a search.
Defense attorneys have questioned Charlie’s truthfulness, noted that he occasionally left the basement for food and said he had many opportunities to leave the house during those 11 days.
“She said if I heard anything just shut up and be quiet. … I didn’t know what was going to happen to me if I didn’t listen,” Charlie told a judge about his stepmother. “I had been threatened before that she would kill me.”
The attorney for the elder Bothuell, Sean Smith, told WWJ Newsradio 950 after the decision that the judge in the case did not believe the young boy and therefore couldn’t believe any of the other witnesses the prosecution brought forward. “The whole case was B.S. to begin with,” said Smith.
The elder Bothuell was giving an interview to cable TV host Nancy Grace on June 25, 2014, when he learned that Charlie had been found by police after 11 days. He expressed surprise and said he didn’t know his son was in the basement.
“I thought my son was dead,” the father told reporters.
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