By Eric D. Lawrence and Gina Damron, Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — The stepmother of 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell V — who was found alive in the basement of his Detroit home 11 days after he vanished — was taken into custody on a warrant issued for a probation violation, police said Thursday.
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate Charlie’s case, focusing on whether he was abused. Police said they have not ruled out the possibility of abuse.
Police have said evidence, including a PVC pipe, has been collected.
A person familiar with the investigation said the pipe was reportedly used to discipline the child. Blood was found on the child’s clothing in the house, but it is uncertain whose blood it is, the source said.
Police are working with the Wayne County prosecutor’s office and will be in touch with the Department of Human Services and other agencies.
Charlie is now staying with his mother and other relatives in Detroit.
His father and stepmother — Charlie Bothuell IV and Monique Dillard-Bothuell — have come under increased scrutiny since Charlie, missing since June 14, was found Wednesday in the basement of their home in the 1300 block of Nicolet Place while police executed a search warrant.
Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, said the office has not received a warrant request in Charlie’s case; police said a warrant request could be turned over within the next couple of days.
Dillard-Bothuell’s two children have been removed by Children’s Protective Services, Detroit police spokesman Michael Woody said.
She is on probation for a weapons offense, records show.
According to Wayne County Circuit Court records, Dillard-Bothuell was charged in 2013 with carrying a concealed weapon.
According to a police report, obtained by the Detroit Free Press, Dillard-Bothuell got a flat tire on I-75 on May 19, 2013. When a Michigan State Police trooper offered assistance, she provided him with her expired concealed pistol license, told him she was in possession of a pistol, and was arrested, the report says.
In January this year, she pleaded guilty to obtaining a pistol without a license, the charge of carrying a concealed weapon was dismissed and she was given two years’ probation, records show.
On the order of probation, it says Dillard-Bothuell “may not own, use or possess a firearm.”
On Monday, a bench warrant was issued for Dillard-Bothuell for violating her probation after a handgun was found in her home on Nicolet Place while police executed a search warrant.
According to court records, police recovered the gun while Dillard-Bothuell was present.
In yet another development Thursday, WXYZ-TV reported that Charlie’s stepmother is the niece of Detroit attorney and Michigan attorney general candidate Godfrey Dillard, who lives only a few doors away from the Bothuells. Dillard, a Democrat, did not return messages seeking comment.
Woody said the investigation is continuing.
Police found Charlie concealed by a makeshift barricade, crouched behind a large container, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Wednesday. He said police had searched the home several times before the one conducted Wednesday.
Woody said Thursday that Charlie had been in another location during earlier searches of the house. Police would have discovered Charlie otherwise, he said. Woody described the area in which the boy was found as a small mechanical room. Police found the boy Wednesday behind a large container with some food, including cereal and pop bottles.
“It was somewhat staged but … you could tell he was there for a short while,” Woody said. “It wasn’t any grand, elaborate setup.”
Woody said that when he was found, Charlie was wearing the same clothes he’d had on when he disappeared. On Wednesday, Craig said Charlie was happy to see police.
Police said Charlie’s condition is good and he has been talking to them.
“He was in a hospital this morning. He is being closely monitored by us,” Woody said Thursday.
On Thursday, a woman leaving the mother’s house, where Charlie is now staying with his mother, said police told the family not to speak with reporters, but she said the boy is fine and with his family before she drove away.
Charles George, 63, a man walking in the neighborhood who identified himself as a family friend, said he spoke with family members on Charlie’s mother’s side Wednesday and they were simply praying the boy was OK.
“I met little Charlie when he was 5 or 6 years old. He was a good boy. I hate that he went through this,” said George.
The saga of a family searching for a missing child took an abrupt and bizarre turn Wednesday. Craig held a news conference to announce that police were not ruling out the possibility of homicide in the case followed hours later by news that the boy had been found alive.
As Craig was addressing the media, Charlie’s father learned the news from cable TV show host Nancy Grace on live television. He left the interview and rushed to his home, where he started sobbing and collapsed in the arms of WDIV-TV reporter Guy Gordon.
Bothuell was adamant that he did not know his son was in the basement and said “there was no abuse of my son.”
Mark Magidson, the attorney for Bothuell, said it “defies logic” that the many searches failed to uncover Charlie.
“If that child was down there, they would have found him,” Magidson said.
AFP Photo / Bill Pugliano
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