Stepmom Told Boy to Stay in Basement, He Says

But lots of questions remain about case of Detroit's Charlie Bothuell V
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2014 10:25 AM CDT
Stepmom Told Boy to Stay in Basement, He Says
This photo provided by the Detroit Police Department shows Charlie Bothuell.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Detroit Police Department)

Thanks to a court document obtained by the Detroit Free Press, we now know a little bit more about why a "missing" 12-year-old boy was found hunkered down in his basement: Charlie Bothuell V told authorities that his stepmother put him there and instructed him "not to come out, no matter what he hears." Charlie also says that his stepmom, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, did not bring him food, and that he had to sneak upstairs when nobody was home over the course of 11 days. But the development seems to raise more questions than it answers. Earlier, police said they didn't think it would be possible for Charlie to move the heavy barricades in front of him on his own.

The bigger question, though, is whether Dillard-Bothuell was punishing the boy or trying to hide him from his father, Charlie Bothuell IV. Doctors found signs of abuse, including a scar on his chest that the youth says was "a result of his father driving a PVC pipe into his chest," according to the court document. The elder Bothuell denies abusing his son, though his attorney expects abuse charges to be filed, reports the Detroit News. Investigators say Bothuell seemed almost obsessed with the fitness of his son, and the newspaper reports that he forced the boy to exercise several times a day on an elliptical machine, sometimes in tears. Charlie is now with his birth mother, and Dillard-Bothuell remains in custody an unrelated probation charge. (Read more basement stories.)

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