Michigan boy held in basement could testify on Thursday

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 16, 2015 7:12 AM

By Serena Maria Daniels

DETROIT (Reuters) - A Detroit boy who was missing for 11 days last June before police found him emaciated in his own basement may testify about abuse at the hands of his parents at a court hearing on Thursday, a prosecutor said.

The now 13-year-old boy will testify at a preliminary hearing to determine if his father and step-mother should stand trial in the case, said Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb. The boy's testimony could also come on Friday - the timing depends on other witness testimony.

The boy's father, Charles Bothuell IV, 46, and his step-mother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, 37, are charged with torture and second-degree child abuse. Torture carries up to life in prison and second-degree child abuse up to four years.

Prosecutors have said the child's parents physically abused him, depriving him of food, banishing him to the basement and forcing to perform extreme exercise.

Bothuell's attorney, Shawn Patrick Smith, has called the boy a liar.

The boy's father reported him missing on June 14, triggering a widespread police search that came up empty until a Michigan State Police sergeant and an FBI agent found him alive and hungry barricaded behind boxes in the basement of his house.

At Wednesday's hearing, Detroit Police Officer Lori Dillon, told the court she visited the family's home twice, on June 19 while the child was still missing and on June 25, the day he emerged from the basement.

During her first visit, Dillon described a dirty home and showed the court a white PVC pipe that the father told her was used to discipline the boy.

When she returned on a second visit, Dillon said the house was cleaner and she noticed a coat in a closet that matched the description of the one the boy was last wearing.

While she was standing outside the home, Dillon was called back inside by an excited colleague.

"He said you need to come in here, we have located the kid," Dillon testified.

As the boy climbed the steps out of the basement, he appeared hesitant, Dillon said. After exchanging words, the boy ran to her and gave her a hug.

(Reporting by Serena Maria Daniels; Editing by Mary Wisniewskin and Sandra Maler)