DETROIT (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old Detroit boy who went missing for 12 days before turning up in his own basement is out of the hospital but isn’t being allowed to speak to his father and stepmother.
Police Sgt. Mike Woody said Thursday that Charlie Bothuell V has been medically cleared and is “doing fine.”
Woody would not say who’s taking care of the boy.
Woody says police are now focusing on the circumstances surrounding the boy’s disappearance and his surprising recovery Wednesday afternoon.
Officers discovered the boy while serving a search warrant on the home as part of their investigation into his disappearance. It’s not clear if the boy had been there the entire time; officers had been inside the home before and cadaver dogs searched the house last week.
Officers found him hiding behind boxes and a large plastic drum in his basement, with bedding nearby
His father, who made tearful television pleas for help, says he had no idea his son was in the basement. Police don’t believe he was there the whole time.
This photo released by the Detroit Police Department shows Charlie Bothuell V, 12, of Detroit has been missing since June 14. (AP Photo/Courtesy Detroit Police Department)
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said when police found Charlie Bothuell V, he appeared to be hiding and did not announce himself. Hours earlier, Craig had told reporters that investigators were “not ruling out the possibility of homicide” in the case.
“He was nervous, but excited,” Craig said. “He indicated he was hungry. He appeared fine.”
The boy lives in the home with his father and stepmother. The father, Charlie Bothuell IV, said he was as surprised as anyone that his son was in the basement.
“I’m shocked. I looked. The Detroit police looked. The FBI looked,” he said. “To imply that I knew my son was in the basement is absurd.”
The elder Bothuell was swarmed by reporters outside the house when he arrived home Wednesday evening.
“I thought my son was dead,” he said as he broke down in tears and hugged a reporter.
Craig told reporters earlier Wednesday that the boy’s father had taken a polygraph test about his son’s disappearance, but the boy’s stepmother declined to do so.