June 26, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Stepmom of boy reported missing arrested for probation violation

Charlie (Detroit Police Department)

Detroit— The stepmother of a 12-year-old boy who was reported missing for 11 days before turning up in his basement was arrested Thursday on a probation violation.

Monique Dillard-Bothuell was taken into custody Thursday, a day after Charlie Bothuell was found. She is on two years’ probation for a misdemeanor gun charge. When police searched the family’s home in the days after Charlie went missing, they found a gun in the home, police sources told The Detroit News.

Charlie has been released to the custody of his biological mother, and state Child Protective Services removed a 4-year-old boy and a 10-month-old girl from the home as an investigation into possible abuse continues, according to Sgt. Eren Stephens.

Charlie was found Wednesday afternoon, crouching behind a stack of boxes and a large drum in the basement of the family’s Lafayette Park townhouse. He was reported missing June 14.

Charlie’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, said his son left home about 9 p.m. that day after an argument with his stepmother. The area was searched for several days, while Detroit police and FBI agents searched his home four times without finding him.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Charlie was abused, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Thursday.

Dillard-Bothuell is serving a two-year probation sentence after being arrested in July 2013 for carrying a concealed weapon. In January, she pleaded guilty to purchasing a weapon without a permit, a misdemeanor, and was given probation.

According to Wayne County Circuit Court records, the warrant for Dillard-Bothuell’s arrest for probation violation was filed Monday.

Police recovered a PVC pipe from Charlie’s home, but Craig said it’s unclear whether it was used to punish him.

A few hours before Charlie was found alive, Craig reported that police were considering the possibility he’d been killed. Sources say blood was found in the house, although it hadn’t yet been tested.

Craig said Charlie didn’t show any obvious signs of abuse after he was found.

“But I didn’t give him a thorough examination,” he said. “He’s being medically evaluated, and that determination will be made.”

Detroit police detectives and FBI investigators searched the family’s townhouse in the 1300 block of Nicolet Place in Lafayette Park four times after Charlie went missing, but found no sign of the boy. Craig said Wednesday he doubted Charlie could have moved the heavy drums and boxes himself, although he stressed he wasn’t sure.

About the time Charlie was found Wednesday afternoon, Bothuell was recording an interview with HLN’s “Nancy Grace” show. After Grace informed him his son had been found, Bothuell interrupted a news conference outside his home to proclaim he knew nothing about his son being in the basement.

Grace told The News on Thursday that a producer who saw reports that Charlie had been found broke the news to her, which she relayed to her guest on the air.

“I’ve had breaking news unfold plenty of times, but I’ve never had a child be found at the moment we were on the air,” she said. “I’ve covered so many missing children stories … and when they’re gone this long, typically, it’s a bad ending. There’s just something about Charlie, when I look at his face ... he’s always smiling. He reminds me so much of my own son.”

Bothuell did not return phone calls or text messages Thursday.