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WATCH: Missing boy found in father’s basement; dad finds out on live TV

DETROIT – An 11-day search for a missing Michigan boy came to a bizarre conclusion Wednesday when he was discovered alive and well, hidden in the basement of his father’s home in Detroit.

Finding 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell resolves the key issue in the missing-child case, but the circumstances of his discovery leave numerous other questions hanging.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told CNN affiliate WXYZ.

“We found him barricaded in the basement, behind boxes and a large five-gallon drum. There’s no way he could have erected this makeshift area of concealment.”

Father told on live TV

Adding to the drama, Charlie’s father, Charles Bothuell IV, heard the revelation that the child had been found during a live TV interview with HLN’s Nancy Grace.

When Grace told him the news, Bothuell became visibly upset, looking dazed and bewildered, breathing hard and clutching his chest.

When he recovered enough to speak, he said he had no idea how his son could have turned up in his house.

“I checked my basement,” Bothuell said. “The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement. I’ve been down there several times. We’ve all been checking.”

A desperate search

Charlie disappeared on June 14, a Saturday night, when he walked out of the house.

“He had — you know, not done some of his chores and instead of arguing at him or fussing or anything, my wife just said OK,” his father told Nancy Grace during an earlier appearance. “I got a call back from my wife at 9:45 saying that Charlie was gone.”

The father said the family then launched a desperate search.

“I’ve been going door to door since he disappeared,” he said. “We didn`t sleep. We did fliers. We called family members. And we have been doing everything we can since to get the word out to get our son back home.”

Questions left hanging

Craig, the police chief, said investigators had searched the home four times, including once with a cadaver dog.

“We’re not certain Charlie was here during those visits,” he said.

When he was found, Charlie was excited to see the officers, Craig said. He was taken to receive medical treatment.

The police chief was asked during an impromptu news conference Wednesday whether an adult was responsible for hiding the boy in the basement.

“We’re not ruling that out,” he said. “It would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that someone didn’t know Charlie was there, but I can’t say definitively.”

‘I love my son’

Later, following his HLN interview, Bothuell told reporters he was shocked by the discovery of his son in his basement, responding angrily to reporters’ questions about who might have known Charlie was there.

“For anybody to imply that I somehow knew my son was in the basement is absurd and wrong. I love my son. I’m glad that he’s home,” Bothuell said.

He became overcome with emotion when a reporter asked him about earlier erroneous reports that Charlie may have been the victim of a homicide.

“I thought my son was dead,” he said, beginning to cry.

His distress deepened further when he was asked if he’d seen Charlie yet.

“No, I haven’t,” he said.

“I want to see my son,” he cried, before breaking into sobs and burying his face in the chest of the male reporter standing next to him.

Trademark and Copyright 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Filed in: News

22 comments

  • paula

    Did he really think that the police was so dumb that they was not going to see his lies. His wife need to be charge also. I bet she knew. I bet the day care call one of them. They usually do when a child don’t come.

    • Erica

      First of all, the police chief stated that the house was searched the house four times including once with a cadaver dog and didn’t find him. It’s nearly impossible to prevent a dog with that kind of trained dog to not pick up his scent. And I did say nearly and not totally impossible. The chief even stated that they weren’t boy was in the house at the time of the search.
      Second, the boy is 12 years old so I really doubt that he was in day care. Read the story completely before making comments like that.even completely sure the

      • Erica

        Excuse me, I meant to say they searched the house four times not the house was searched the house four times.

    • athynz

      You missed something. From the article: “Craig, the police chief, said investigators had searched the home four times, including once with a cadaver dog.” So tell us again how these parents are “bad”?

      • Troll

        athynz …… you repeat the point made earlier by Erica in the same response branch. You must really like to see your words in print even when there is no point to it. Get a life. And no, you do not have higher education. You are sad.

  • Laura

    Why do they keep saying “his fathers house”. The wife lives there too, why make it look like it was just the father lived there?

  • Robbie

    This is definitely the white half of Obama’s fault! Can you imagine the ridicule and abuse the police and FBI endured from the African American leaders of Detroit for not doing enough.

  • Brenda Tunnell

    Now that the boy has been found , why all the controversy surrounding this case. Why not just ask the young man that is certainly old enough to answer any questions pertaining to this case. Seems like enough people and dogs searched the basement,so it’s so much more to this case. Everyone cool their jets and let the boy do the talking.

    • Tifany Blackwell

      Yes Brenda I was thinking the same thing why not ask him clearly the father is in shock and if the police searched and FBI search and didn’t pick up a scent why make it seem like its the father and mother fault??? That boy could be going thru something bullies anything and ran from home then came back home to be in the basement we dont know let’s ask him

      • Robbie

        Watch the fathers reaction when Nancy Grace told him the boy had been found. Daddy knew what was going on. You people are so naive.

      • Morning Dew

        Nancy Grace should not have been the one to tell him his boy had been found. He should have heard it from the police. No wonder he looks shocked. It is not like he was finding out if he was the father with a “You ARE the father”moment. The man thought he was giving and interview in hopes that someone would be able to help.

  • Michael Johnson

    Is no one else going to comment on how much of a jerk Nancy was being? The man was obviously taken aback by the news. Instead of yelling at and accusing him she should’ve handed him a phone to verify the news himself.

    • Tifany Blackwell

      Exactly I was thinking the same thing and he stated twice everybody search smdh but lets be honest if he would had snapped on her she would had sworn he had something to do with it because thats just how she rolls…..but want us to show compassion for the “Twins” smdh

      • athynz

        You missed something in the article. “Craig, the police chief, said investigators had searched the home four times, including once with a cadaver dog.” So are the police and the cadaver dog in on this too?

  • Natalie Battilana

    Is it so bizarre to think this boy was out hiding and returned to the house when no one was there? The law coming back with another search warrant isn’t unusual. I think this story is dead now and the boy should have consequences to face. A 12 year old can be very munipulitative and him acting happy to see officers on the last search should say something.

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