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Docs: Shocking abuse allegations in Bothuell case

  • Petition: Charlie Bothuell V said he was abused the entire 2 years he lived with his father, Charlie Bothuell IV
  • Petition: Charlie says he was forced into the basement after his stepmother said he lied about completing his evening workout
  • Charlie's father and stepmother have not been charged and maintain their innocence
Docs: Shocking abuse allegations in Bothuell case

Nancy Grace tells dad missing son found alive

Nancy Grace tells dad missing son found alive

A newly released petition from the Michigan Department of Human Services uncovers details of interviews conducted with 12 year old Charlie Bothuell V, who was found alive in his basement after being reported missing 11 days earlier.  The petition for child protective proceedings filed by DHS lays out Charlie’s description of the alleged abuse he suffered at the hands of his Father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell. 

The petition states that Child Protective Services witnessed 2 forensic interviews with Charlie after he was found on June 25.  Social workers became involved in the case after being referred by the hospital who saw signs of abuse on Charlie when he was examined.  According to the petition, Doctors observed a half circular scar on Charlie’s chest and old scars on his buttocks that the child reported as being a result of his father beating him with a PVC pipe. 

Physical & verbal abuse:

The petition details the forensic interviews conducted on June 26 and July 1 with Charlie where he opens up about how he ended up in the basement, as well as the physical and verbal abuse he allegedly suffered while living with his father and stepmother.  Charlie told authorities he “experienced physical abuse by his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, for the entire two years he has resided in Mr. Bothuell’s residence.  The abuse included being physically disciplined with a PVC pipe on his butt, feet, chest, head, thighs, sides and arms,”

Charlie said he was beaten so badly with the PVC pipe, he “was often too sore to sit or walk,” and the “skin on his buttocks split opened in several areas,” according to the DHS petition

The petition alleges when CPS spoke with Bothuell IV about the allegations of abuse, he admitted to physically disciplining his son Charlie with a PVC pipe.  When the FBI searched the Bothuell home, they recovered the PVC pipe allegedly used in the attack.  Authorities say there was blood still on the pipe and it was sent to the crime lab for testing.    

DHS alleges Charlie’s stepmother, Dillard-Bothuell, was verbally and emotionally abusive towards Charlie.  Statements allegedly from Dillard-Bothuell to Charlie include “unlike you, I know where the sharp knives are,” and “I can make you disappear”.  Charlie also reported to authorities his belief that “she doesn’t f**king like me, and will f**king murder me” 


The petition exposes a series of extreme workouts that Charlie says he was ordered to perform twice daily and if he failed to complete the workout he would “be in trouble again”.  Charlie told social workers he was forced to get up at 5am each morning and complete two workouts twice a day, 7 days a week.  In the morning he was required to do 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 100 jumping jacks, 25 arm curls on each arm with a 25 lb weight, and 5,000 revolutions on the elliptical trainer. 

In the evening Charlie states he was required to do the same routine, but instead of 5,000 revolutions on the elliptical, he had to complete 4,000.  If the workouts were not completed in under an hour, Charlie says he would be made to do it all over again, even in times where Charlie was in too much pain to workout due to the alleged beatings with the PVC pipe.   

Ultimately it was the workouts that Charlie claims led him to be sent to the basement. 

Put in Basement:

According to the DHS petition, on the night of June 14, Charlie said Dillard-Bothuell became angry with him because she believed Charlie was lying about completing his evening workout that night.  After accusing Charlie of lying several times, the stepmother allegedly stated “I’m not going to argue with you, I will just tell your dad.” 

Charlie states he went and took a shower and changed, when he returned to the kitchen Dillard-Bothuell was still upset about her belief that Charlie did not complete the workout, allegedly telling Charlie “if you don’t want anything bad to happen, you better get out of my face” and then told Charlie she “had a place for you to go” and began to lead Charlie down to the family basement.  Charlie, fearing his stepmother’s angry voice, says he felt as if he had no choice and did what he was told.  Inside the basement Dillard-Bothuell directed Charlie to the back of the basement in an area along a wall, allegedly telling him “there, back there, go!”

Charlie explained he had to climb over a 5 gallon drum just to reach this area, and then Dillard-Bothuell added boxes on top to conceal his presence even more. 

The petition states Charlie heard Dillard-Bothuell go back upstairs and call Bothuell IV and tell him Charlie was missing and “she looked everywhere”

11 days inside:

Questions remain about how officers failed to discover Charlie in the basement during his 11 days hidden inside.  Investigators with the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office told CNN’s Susan Candiotti they have no reason to disbelieve the boy and “it’s possible they didn’t see him” Police note that when they searched the home multiple times, they always used Cadaver dogs, never search and rescue dogs.  However, authorities noted there was no visible sign he had been at that location. 

While cops never heard or saw Charlie, according to the boy, he heard them.  The DHS petition notes that during the interviews with Charlie, he reported hearing officers come to the home, and was very excited when he realized he was going to be found.  During his time in the basement, Charlie alleges Dillard-Bothuell would come downstairs to do laundry and would approach the area where Charlie was sitting and say “shut up, stay quiet, and don’t say anything no matter what you hear!” Charlie described to officials the experience of spending 11 days without being offered any food or drink by Dillard-Bothuell, being forced to sneak upstairs when he heard the house was quiet, and going to eat and drink items that he believed would not be noticed missing by his father and stepmother, such as protein shakes, Mountain Dew, and Chex Mix. 

Custody status:

After observing the interviews conducted with Charlie, the petition requested the parental rights of Charlie Bothuell IV be terminated with regards to not only Charlie, but Charlie’s 2 siblings.  The petition also requested Dillard-Bothuell’s parental rights to Charlie’s 2 siblings be stripped as well.  DHS officials requested that the court give Charlie over to his mother, Africa Shippings, and place the other 2 children with Child Protective Services. 

At a hearing held Thursday, the court ordered Charlie to undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling, according to documents released by the court.  As of now Bothuell IV has no rights to see Charlie, but may have supervised visits with the other children.  The court ordered another hearing on those cases for next Thursday, July 17. 

Warrant update:

Investigators told CNN they are revising the arrest warrant application they presented to the District Attorney’s office last week for review.  Police say prosecutors recommended they do “certain things” to revise their arrest referral before resubmitting the application.  Police officials will not put a timetable on when that will happen. 

Both Bothuell IV and Dillard-Bothuell have previously denied allegations of abuse against Charlie.  Attorney for Dillard-Bothuell has not returned HLN’s request for comment, but told the Detroit free press that his client never ordered Charlie into the basement.  The attorney for Charlie Bothuell IV, Stephanie Carson could not be reached for comment.  

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