3 more hearings scheduled in boy in basement case
Detroit — A Detroit police officer says there was no thorough search of the basement where 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell V was found alive nearly two weeks after he was reported missing last June.
"There had not been ... a full, complete, thorough 'no-stone-unturned' search of the basement," Detroit Police Officer Lori Dillon testified under cross examination Thursday by defense attorney Shawn Patrick Smith about finding the boy in the 600-square-foot basement of the family's home on Nicolet near downtown June 25.
Dillon said it was possible a thorough search had not been done because of the "conditions of the basement."
On Thursday, 36th District Judge Shannon Holmes scheduled more hearings for 9:30 a.m. April 28, May 6 and May 7 for the preliminary examination at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. Afterward, she'll decide whether Charlie's dad, Charlie Bothuell IV, and his wife, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, will stand trial on torture and child abuse charges.
Two witnesses have testified so far after four days of hearings. The first witnesses were Dr. Dena Nazer, the Children's Hospital of Michigan physician who testified Charlie had suffered child abuse, and undercover Detroit police officer Dillon, who was at the boy's house investigating when he was found.
Dillon testified Wednesday and Thursday about the investigation into the case which made national headlines and landed Bothuell on Nancy Grace's popular cable TV show.
The boy is expected to testify, but it is unclear when. There is at least one more police investigator expected to take the stand.
The boy told staff at Children's Hospital he had been beaten in the past by his father with a PVC pipe. He also told hospital staff his stepmother forced him into the basement and threatened him in the past, telling him she could murder him and that no one would know since he was home schooled.
Attorney Shawn Patrick Smith, Bothuell's defense lawyer, said the boy is a "liar" and he made up the story about being forced into the basement.
On Thursday, Smith tried to chip away at the prosecutor's case by asking Dillon if "signs of distress" were noticed on young Charlie right after he was found hiding behind cardboard boxes in the basement.
Smith also asked Dillon why police took Charlie to a McDonald's drive-through for chicken nuggets and some cookies before taking him to the emergency room at Children's Hospital.
"I didn't think there was any harm in feeding a hungry child," Dillon said.
She also testified she "didn't see a rush" in taking the boy to the hospital when asked about taking the time to talk to the child on a sofa in the family's home before taking him to the hospital.
"We were assessing Charlie and his well-being," Dillon said.
She also was asked about the forensics on the PVC pipe taken from the house. The pipe, Smith said, did not contain any DNA or blood on it.
Dillon said she was told a PVC pipe was used by Bothuell to discipline Charlie.
"I don't know if it was that particular pipe used to create the scar on Charlie," she said.