Friday, February 20, 2015

Custodial dad, step charged with torture for abuse, imprisonment of 12-year-old son (Detroit, Michigan)

Custodial dad identified as CHARLES BOTHUELL IV. Back in July, we reported that the non-custodial mom had temporary placement and was trying to get permanent custody back.

Father and stepmom charged with torture and abuse after they 'locked 12-year-old son in basement for 11 days' and claimed he was missing

Charlie Bothuell V, 12, 'vanished' from his dad's Detroit home in June 2014
Father and stepmom reported him missing and he was found by police in the basement of the building the couple was living in 11 days later
Prosecutors say that parents systematically physically abused the child
Police were told by the boy that stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell hid him in the basement with no food or water
The Bothuells have each been charged with torture and child abuse
This is the first time Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged torture for a living child

By Kelly Mclaughlin For and Associated Press
Published: 08:45 EST, 20 February 2015 | Updated: 13:52 EST, 20 February 2015

Prosecutors have brought torture and child abuse charges against the father and stepmother of a 12-year-old Detroit boy who was found in his father's basement last year after an 11-day disappearance.

Charles Bothuell IV, 46, and Monique Dillard-Bothuell, 37, systematically physically abused the child, forced him to live in the basement and didn't allow him to socialize, Wayne County prosecutors said.

The boy, Charlie Bothuell V, was found by police in the basement of his family's condominium on June 25, 2014, - 11 days after he was reported missing by his father and stepmom.

Detroit police arrested the Bothuells this morning, the prosecutor's office said. They have each been charged with one count of torture, punishable by up to life in prison, and second-degree child abuse, which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Charlie Bothuell IV and Monique Dillard-Bothuell systematically physically abused the child, forced him to live in the basement and didn't allow him to socialize, Wayne County prosecutors said.

Bothuell, a nurse, had made tearful pleas on TV for his son's return and later said he was ‘shocked’ when the boy was found in the basement.

Charlie was deprived of food and forced to engage in an 'extreme and unreasonable exercise regime,' Prosecutors said in a statement.

He ‘has experienced physical abuse by his father... for the entire two years he has resided in Mr. Bothuell's residence,’ the Department of Human Services said in a court filing.

‘The abuse included being physically disciplined with a PVC pipe on his butt, feet, chest, head, thighs, sides and arms... He was often too sore to sit or walk.’

But Charlie told caseworkers that his stepmother ordered him to the basement on June 14, 2014 because she believed he had not completed one of his twice-a-day workouts.

His workout regime included 100 pushups, 200 situps, 100 jumping jacks, 25 arm curls with a 25-pound weight and thousands of revolutions on an elliptical machine.

Charlie said his stepmom, who has two other children, told him, ‘Shut up, stay quiet and don't say anything no matter what you hear!’

Charlie said Dillard-Bothuell told him at times, ‘I know where the sharp knives are... I can make you disappear.’

Charlie was discovered in the cramped basement behind a makeshift barrier of boxes. Confusingly, FBI agents previously searched the basement, even using specially trained cadaver dogs.

It then emerged there was an underground tunnel easily accessible from the basement, connecting the other condos in the block and leading outside the building.

The tunnel’s outside door is usually locked and only accessible to maintenance men, but crucially, it was left open during the time he was in the resident because residents were getting rid of a build-up of trash in a dumpster left outside.

That means Charlie could have left the property in the day, before returning at night, explaining why FBI agents could not find the boy.

Court documents apparently state that Charlie has claimed he even snuck upstairs for food when the house was empty.

The father and stepmother earlier denied any abuse took place.

The state Department of Human Services has said the father later acknowledged striking his son with a PVC pipe.

They added in a court filing last year that the boy told authorities he was forced to rise before dawn for his intense workouts.

'We are thankful that the victim was found alive,' prosecutor Kym Worthy said. 'This is the first time that the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged torture for a living child. Based upon the allegations, if any case warrants child torture charges, this one certainly does.'

Dillard-Bothuell was charged with an unrelated probation violation shortly after Charlie was found because there was a gun in the home and she had a prior gun conviction in Wayne County, according to MLive.

Officials have temporarily stripped Bothuell and Dillard-Bothuell of their parental rights and taken Charlie's two half-siblings from the couple's home. A final custody decision has not been made by the courts.

Bothuell and Dillard-Bothuell are due in court on Friday afternoon.