Detroit—Charlie Bothuell V, the 12-year-old boy whose disappearance last month made national headlines, told authorities he was beaten with a PVC pipe by his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and threatened by his stepmother not to make any noise while he was barricaded in the basement of the family’s home while police searched for him for 11 days.
The boy, reported missing by his parents, was found June 25 shivering and hungry in the family’s home on Nicolet Place in Lafayette Park, near downtown.
The allegations of physical and verbal abuse are contained in a six-page Michigan Department of Human Services report filed with the family division of the Wayne County Circuit Court seeking to terminate the parental rights of Charles and Monique Dillard-Bothuell.
According to the allegations, Charlie Bothuell was subjected to marathon sessions of exercise where he was forced to get up at 5 a.m. and do two grueling workouts a day every day of the week.
The youngster’s morning exercise regimen included 100 pushups, 200 sit-ups, 100 jumping jacks, 25 arm curls per arm with a 25-pound weight and 5,000 revolutions on the elliptical trainer. A near-identical workout was done in the evening.
The child also told investigators he was physically disciplined by his father with a PVC pipe on his buttocks, feet, chest, head, thighs, sides and arms. The child said he was often too sore to sit or walk. According to the petition, the adolescent Charlie was beat so severely by his father with the PVC pipe that “the skin on his buttocks split opened in several areas.”
The boy was examined at Children’s Hospital June 25, the day he was found in the home’s basement. A doctor at the hospital found evidence of physical abuse and found a scar on the youngster’s chest and buttocks.
FBI agents found a PVC pipe, which had blood on it, at the family’s residence during a search.
The youngster said he also had also been punched by his stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell.
In the report, the boy said Dillard-Bothuell once told him “unlike you, I know where the sharp knives are” and “I can make you disappear.”
Dillard-Bothuell has a hearing Friday on allegations of probation violations for having an unlicensed gun in the family’s home last month.
Charlie Bothuell V has lived with his father and stepmother for the past two years. The 12-year-old said his stepmother led him to the family’s basement June 14 when she became upset with him about his extreme workouts.
The boy said Dillard-Bothuell told him “if you don’t want anything bad to happen, you better get out my face” and then “I’ve got a place for you to go.”
According to the state’s report, the woman led the child back into the basement area along a wall. He said he was ecstatic when police and other authorities found him.
“I was so excited when I heard they were going to move the box I was behind, because I knew they were going to find me, ” according to the state’s report filed with the court.
A hearing on whether the parental rights of Charlie Bothuell’s father and stepmother should be terminated by the state will continue July 17 in Wayne County Juvenile Court.
Charlie’s father attended a 30-minute preliminary hearing with his attorney before referee Nicholas Bobak but did not speak during the session.
The state’s petition also seeks termination of parental rights for Charlie Bothuell’s other children, a 4-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter.
In an order following Thursday’s hearing, Bobak did not authorize the termination of the couple’s parental rights but ordered that Charlie stay with his biological mother; he also authorized the temporary removal of the younger children to a relative under the supervision of DHS because there is a “substantial risk of harm” to the children by leaving them with their parents, Bobak’s order said.
Reasonable efforts should be made to “preserve and reunify” the family, the juvenile court referee concluded.
A psychological evaluation and counseling also were ordered by Bobak for the 12-year-old Charlie.
Visitation for the boy’s father has been suspended but Bobak allowed the couple to have supervised visits with the younger children.