Home / National News / Investigation into Detroit Boy's Disappearance Focuses on Parents


(DETROIT) — The parents of a Detroit boy who went missing for a dozen days before turning up in his own basement has been described as persons of interest in the case, police told ABC News.

Charlie Bothuell V, 12, is out of the hospital after his Wednesday rescue and investigators have not allowed him to have contact with his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell, who reportedly live in a multi-unit condo.

Dillard-Bothuell was taken into custody Thursday, arrested on a bench warrant for an unrelated case, police said. Child Protective Services has also gotten involved, taking two young children belonging to Bothuell IV and Dillard-Bothuell, officials said.

Police and FBI officials are questioning the boy and his parents, searching for answers into his disappearance. Bothuell and his wife have not responded to media requests for comment.

At this point, the boy is staying with his biological mother.

Bothuell IV reported the boy missing June 14. Officers had searched the home on at least three occasions since then, but he wasn’t found until Wednesday, barricaded behind a 55-gallon barrel that police say he couldn’t have moved on his own.

Police also found bedding, soda bottles and cereal in the basement, along with a blood-stained PVC pipe in the home. Police say they do not believe the boy was in the basement area the whole time.

Information about the boy’s rescue emerged as his father spoke on live TV with HLN’s Nancy Grace. As Grace discussed the developing reports, Bothuell breathed in and out deeply, silent for 10 seconds.

“What?” he said.

More silence. Bothuell clutched his chest and held up his hand, struggling with his words.

“I checked my basement, the FBI checked my basement, Detroit Police checked my basement, my wife checked my basement, I’ve been down there seven times,” he said. “We’ve all been checking.”

Bothuell grew defiant and began crying in later interviews outside his house.

“I love my son, I’m glad he’s home and he’s going to have a great future he deserves to have,” he said.

For Grace, details about the household’s parenting style, including a strict exercise regime, are puzzling. She still isn’t sure what to make of the situation.

“I still don’t believe the father knew he was in the basement,” she said Friday in an appearance on Good Morning America. “Why else would he contact authorities?”

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