According to his father, 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell went missing from their Detroit home on June 14. Yesterday, Charles Bothuell IV appeared on HLN’s Nancy Grace to discuss the case and ask for the public’s help, but Grace surprised him by announcing that his son had been found alive and well—barricaded in his own basement, no less, along with bedding and food.
Bothuell appears shocked and momentarily speechless at the news, but does go on to explain that he, local police, and the FBI all repeatedly searched the basement to no avail; authorities even brought a cadaver dog into the townhouse. Since this interview, Bothuell has continued to deny that he or his son’s stepmother knew where he was the whole time. He had previously submitted to a polygraph test whose results were inconclusive, while his wife had refused.
At the moment, there are very few answers to be had. Bothuell said the boy had run away before, but only for a few hours; police believe it’s unlikely he constructed the hiding place itself, but can’t be sure that he had been there all the while; local news outlets reported that he would not be allowed to see his parents until this morning, at the earliest. In the meantime, the Twitter hashtag #FindCharlie has morphed from an SOS to a marker of bewilderment and speculation.
— Suzanne Holland (@Sincitysuzy) June 26, 2014
#FindCharlie isn’t this like balloon boy? Ya know, w/o the weather balloon.
— David Ramirez (@HavnaBlast) June 26, 2014
— Adie Lee (@AdieLeeSD) June 26, 2014
— Melanie Makitra (@mel_a_nie__) June 26, 2014
— Jodi Harris (@JodiHarris) June 26, 2014
Stay tuned: by most indications, this story is likely to keep on getting weirder.