‘Basement Boy’s’ father released on bond

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — The father of a 12-year-old boy found hidden in his basement last summer has been released from jail after a judge on Friday lowered his bond, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Charles Bothuell IV must wear a GPS tether and have no contact with children during his release, Judge Shannon Holmes said Friday. His wife, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, remains incarcerated, according to the sheriff’s office.

It was not clear when Bothuell was released. He remains in custody on a tether, so no release date was available, according to the sheriff’s office.

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 Bothuell’s son, Charlie Bothuell V, missing 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 behind boxes in his basement.

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

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.

Bond for the couple previously was set at $500,000 cash/surety. Holmes on Friday lowered it to $50,000, 10 percent with the stipulation that each must wear the tether and have no contact with children.

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

Bothuell IV and Dillard-Bothuell were in court Friday for a probable cause hearing.

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 amounts.

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 after the hearing the lowered bond was “a very good first step” to clearing his client.

“The charges are absolutely ludicrous,” he said. “Even the evidence the prosecution has shown 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.”

“This is the first time that the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has charged torture for a living child,” Worthy said in a press release. “Based upon the allegations, if any case warrants child torture charges, this one certainly does.”

The story became even stranger 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

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