A picture of Charlie Bothuell V — the one of him in a buttoned-up, collared shirt and pinstriped suit, smiling at the camera — was repeatedly issued by Detroit police.
The 12-year-old was missing.
But on Wednesday, Detroit Police Chief James Craig delivered good news: “We have Charlie.”
In the course of the day, the case took major turns. In the afternoon, Craig said police weren’t ruling out the possibility of a homicide in the child’s disappearance. A short time later, Craig announced that police found Charlie, missing since June 14, alive in the basement of his home.
Craig said Charlie was concealed by a makeshift barricade that police don’t believe the child could have made. He said Charlie was discovered by police as they executed another search warrant on the home.
Craig said Charlie was crouched behind a large container, and there appeared to be food nearby. He said Charlie didn’t call out but was happy to see police.
“In 37 years of policing, I will tell you, I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Craig said. “But the outcome, I couldn’t be happier.”
The investigation, though, continues.
Craig said that if it’s determined there was evidence of child abuse, then “our investigation will take a turn in that direction. But at this point, there’s a process that must be followed and, certainly, the Wayne County prosecutor is directly involved in this. And, so, once that process is completed, we’ll know if any charges will be filed against either or both custodial parents.”
Charlie’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, said he was unaware his son was in the basement and said “there was no abuse of my son.” He said he was shocked that his son was found in the home.
“For anybody to imply that I somehow knew that my son was in the basement, it’s absurd and it’s wrong,” Bothuell said at the scene. “I love my son. I’m glad that he’s home and he’s going to have the great future that he deserves to have.”
Bothuell broke down sobbing and said: “I want to see my son.”
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SOURCE: USA Today
Gina Damron, Detroit Free Press