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Lawyer calls boy found in basement after 10 days 'liar'

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Lawyers for the father of a youngster authorities say was abused and found in the basement of the family's home after being reported missing for 10 days say the boy "is a liar" and created the whole scenario.

Charles Bothuell IV during Friday’s preliminary hearing on charges of child abuse and torture of Charlie Bothuell V.

"It looks staged," Shawn Patrick Smith said Friday after the preliminary hearing before 36th District Court Judge Shannon Holmes for the boy's father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and his stepmother, Monique Dillard Bothuell. The couple is charged with torture and child abuse.

Charlie Bothuell V, 12, was allegedly abused and forced to stay in the basement of his family's home on Nicolet Place in Lafayette Park while he was reported missing to police.

"(The son) lives in this fantasy world and that's what this case is all about," Smith said. "He could go upstairs and use the facilities."

Charlie is expected to testify against his father and stepmother when the hearings in the preliminary examination, which could determine if the couple will stand trial, continue April 14.

Smith said "it's inconceivable" that police who took cadaver dogs to the basement of the family's home did not detect the boy.

Charlie was hiding in the basement on his own and there are several witnesses who had seen him out and about when he was reported missing, Smith said.

Bouthell is accused of hitting his son with PVC pipe and the stepmother allegedly threatened the boy and sent him to the basement, where he eventually was found, shivering and hungry behind boxes.

Charles Bothuell IV, left, sits next to Monique Dillard-Bothuell, center, as she confers with an attorney.

Alter said the father did not abuse his son and added: "The dad is an innocent man and he has been bankrupt by this."

But according to the chief of Children's Hospital's child abuse pediatric unit, Charlie was abused physically and psychologically.

Dr. Dena Nazer testified Friday that the youth was tortured and physically abused.

"He disclosed he was beaten with a (PVC) pipe," Nazer testified. "He was physically abused on more than one occasion."

Nazer said Charlie , who was home schooled for the past two years, told Children's Hospital staff after he was found in the basement June 25 that Dillard Bothuell put him in the basement and that he was deprived of food and water.

"He was isolated in the basement for 10 days," Nazer said. She said Charlie said he was forced into the basement by his stepmother and that he was scared of her. He told the hospital staff his father beat him.

"He was also threatened to be killed," Nazer testified.

Several times, the defense attorney for Dillard Bothuell, Godfrey Dillard, told the judge his client did not hit her stepson.

Nazer said scars were found on the boy's buttocks and chest.

Under cross examination by Dillard, Nazer testified she did not interview or physically examine Charlie and that her diagnosis is the result of reviewing reports from the medical staff at Children's Hospital, FBI interviews and other reports.

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bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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