State authorities plan to urge a judge today to terminate the parental rights of the father of a 12-year-old boy who was found barricaded in the basement of his Detroit home days after disappearing last month.
After investigators interviewed the boy twice, the Department of Human Services alleges that Charlie Bothuell V was subjected to daily, rigorous workouts involving sit-ups, weight-lifting and an elliptical machine. Charlie told investigators he was harshly disciplined for underperforming.
According to a petition to terminate the parental rights of the father, Charlie Bothuell IV, the boy was punched by his step-mother and ordered to hide in the basement and pretend he was missing.
The father, the petition alleges, often hit the boy with a PVC pipe for not meeting high workout standards.
The state also plans to ask the Wayne County juvenile court to grant custody to the boy’s mother, with whom Charlie is currently living.
The mystery surrounding Charlie’s June 14 disappearance gained national attention when his father appeared on Nancy Grace to appeal for help finding the boy. During the televised interview, Grace broke news to the father that his son had been found in the basement.
Bothuell responded by puffing his cheeks and breathing heavily, saying he was overwhelmed by the discovery.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.