Investigators shift focus to determine if missing boy found aliv - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Investigators shift focus to determine if missing boy found alive is abuse victim

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DETROIT (WJBK) -  Detroit police are investigating the possibility of child abuse after a 12-year-old boy who had been reported missing for 11 days was found alive in the basement of the family's townhome.

"We need to talk to Charlie, need to find out what's been going on, where he's been," says Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody.

So many questions for 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell, the child at the center of a bizarre mystery. For 11 days he went missing from the home on Nicolet Place where he lived with his father, stepmother and siblings.

Police had collected evidence that led them to believe he may have been murdered. Then, he was discovered alive and well Wednesday afternoon hiding in the basement of his home.

"We need to refocus our investigation with the parents, talk to them as well. There is a lot of things that need to be covered here," Woody says.

Investigators are shifting their focus to determine whether or not Charlie was a victim of child abuse. Police found bloody clothes in the home while searching it and sources say the father has admitted to punishing his son with a PVC pipe.

But what exactly happened here over the last couple of weeks is very much under investigation. The only thing certain - Charlie is safe.

"When the officers came down in the basement, he had a pretty big smile on his face. He was almost relieved actually," Woody says.

Fox 2's Taryn Asher reports the child is with his mother and physically he's said to be doing okay.

As for the father and the stepmother, they were so vocal during the time that Charlie was missing but now they are unwilling to speak with the media.

Fox 2's Amy Lange has been outside the townhome on Nicolet Place and reports Charlie's father, Charlie Bothuell IV, left with some bags earlier on Thursday. She reports it does not appear the father and stepmother are staying at their home right now.
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