Detroit police scoured the city for nearly two weeks to find Charlie Bothuell V, even bringing in a cadaver dog to search for the missing 12-year-old in a baffling case that has an even more baffling ending.
They found Charlie, who hadn't been seen since June 14, alive, well and happy to see police on Wednesday, hidden behind a makeshift barrier in the basement that had been thoroughly searched three times before, the Detroit Free Press reports.
That wasn’t the only bizarre twist in a case full of them.
In her trademark breathless style, Nancy Grace delivered the jaw-dropping news to the missing boy’s father, Charlie Bothuell IV, in a live interview that occurred at the same time police announced they had found the boy.
“Charlie, we’re getting reports that your son has been found in your basement,” Grace said
“Sir? Mr. Bothuell are you, are you … ”
“What?” he asked, looking shocked.
“We are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement … we’re getting that right now, how could your son be alive in your basement?”
The elder Bothuell stammered, then finally said “I have no idea …”
Law enforcement authorities in Detroit – the police department, the FBI and others whose previous searches of the home 1300 block of Nicolet Place turned up no sign of Charlie – are stymied, too.
“In 37 years of policing, I will tell you, I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a news conference Wednesday after officers stumbled on young Charlie in a mechanical room. “But the outcome, I couldn’t be happier.”
Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the barricade looked “somewhat staged” and they don’t think the boy could have made it himself. “You could tell he was there for a short while,” he said. “It wasn’t any grand, elaborate setup.”
When they found him, Charlie was hungry and nervous, Craig said, according to the WWJ/AP report.
The boy is in protective custody and is being medically evaluated. Police said he has been talking to them about where he has been for the last 12 days, but they declined to share that information with reporters.
Investigators are looking at child abuse as a possibility. Evidence taken from an undisclosed location included PVC pipe.
Charlie Bothuell IV, a registered nurse who has his own business in Southfield, reported his son missing on Father’s Day. The elder Bothuell vehemently denied any wrongdoing and offered to take a lie-detector test.
“For anyone to imply that I somehow knew that my son was on the basement, it’s absurd and wrong,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I love my son. I’m glad that he’s home and he’s goig to have the great future that he deserves to have.”
The boy reportedly left his home after he and his stepmother, who police said declined to take a lie-detector test, had argued about unfinished chores.