Missing Detroit boy found in father's basement, questions remain

Charlie Bothuell

A 12-year-old boy missing for more than a week in Detroit has been found in his father's basement.

Charlie Bothuell was last seen June 14 at his father's house. He was found Wednesday in the basement of the same home.

"I feel as though somebody had little Charlie. Maybe the mother, don't know who. Somebody had my little grandson," the boy's grandmother, Pierette Bothuell, told WDIV-TV in Detroit.

Pierette and Charlie's father, also named Charlie, are convinced the boy wasn't in the basement the entire time he was missing.

"The police came. I was here when they went all over the house. Search and search," she said.

Charlie's father said the same during a live interview with Headline News host Nancy Grace, who broke the news to Bothuell that his son had been found in the basement. Bothuell took several seconds to respond and appeared frozen, then short of breath.

"Did you check your basement?" Grace asked.

"I checked my basement, the FBI checked my basement, the Detroit police checked my basement, my wife checked my basement. I've been down there several times, we've all been checking," Bothuell replied. "We've been on the look out for him, we've searched that house repeatedly."

Police told WDIV the 12-year-old was not in the basement during those searches, which included cadaver dogs. Detectives believe the boy may have been in and out of the basement during his disappearance, moving between houses via an underground hallway.

Police found the child in a two-foot-by-four-foot space, blocked in by a wooden palette and a 55-gallon drum.

"You could see that he was nervous and excited, glad to see police," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Detectives found cereal, milk, Gatorade and fresh chicken in there space where they found the boy, which they described as "boot camp style" and that it was created for Charlie.

The FBI plans to question Charlie's father, but Pierette Bothuell says her son would never harm her own child.

"My son has nothing to do with this. I know my son. I don't feel he had anything to do with this," she said.

The younger Charlie Bothuell is receiving medical treatment, but his condition is not known. His father says the boy has run away before, but never for this long.

He says he feels he and the boy's stepmother have felt like suspects during the search. A polygraph test conducted on the father was inconclusive.