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Detroit — A judge lowered bond on Friday for the father and stepmother of the 12-year-old "Basement Boy" who was found hidden in their basement last summer, 11 days after he was reported missing.

Charles Bothuell IV, and his wife, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, each had bond reset at $50,000, 10 percent. If they make bail, they must wear a GPS tether and have no contact with children, Judge Shannon Holmes said.

Bond for the couple previously was set at $500,000 cash/surety.

Bothuell IV also is prohibited from contacting the mother of the alleged victim, Charlie Bothuell V.

The couple was charged last week with one count of torture and child abuse in the second degree, which is punishable by up to life in prison.

According to police reports, the couple reported Charlie missing on June 14 from their home in the 1300 block of Nicolet Place.

Eleven days later on June 25, a sergeant from the Michigan State Police and a special agent from the FBI found the boy hidden behind boxes in the basement of his home.

The discovery was made after three previous searches, including the use of cadaver sniffing dogs. Police said Charlie appeared to be very thin and had marks on his upper body.

The two were in court Friday for a probable cause hearing at which counsel had a lengthy sidebar to discuss discovery that was submitted to the defendants' previously assigned attorneys. Holmes gave counsel until Monday to turn discovery over to new counsel.

In arguing for lower bond, attorneys for both defendants argued their clients do not have the means to flee. The prosecutor said the offenses charged are violent enough for high bails.

After the judge lowered bond, she set an indigency hearing for March 6 to discuss Bothuell IV's income and to determine if he will require financial help in his defense.

A preliminary exam is scheduled for March 27.

Bothuell IV's attorney, Farris Haddad, said following the hearing he now believes his client will make bail.

"The bond reduction is a very good first step," he said. "The charges are absolutely ludicrous; even the evidence the prosecution has shows that he's innocent."

The prosecutor's office alleges the boy's father and stepmother physically abused him on a systematic basis, denied him food, did not allow him to socialize with others, and forced him to engage in an "extreme and unreasonable exercise regime."

"We are thankful that the victim was found alive," Worthy said in a press release. "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."

The story of the missing "Basement Boy" made headlines both nationally and internationally due to its bizarre nature.

The story became even stranger on June 25 during a broadcast of the "Nancy Grace" show in which Grace broke the news to Bothuell IV that his son had been found in the basement of his home.

Bothuell IV appeared stunned at the news, held up his hands in amazement and appeared to hyperventilate as his eyes darted back and forth.

"What? What?" Bothuell IV said.

When asked how his son ended up in the basement, Bothuell IV said, "I have no idea."

And then on June 27, Dillard-Bothuell appeared in court on a probation violation charge stemming from an earlier illegal purchase of a gun. She was jailed overnight and released on June 28. In August, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

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