The parents of a then 12-year-old Detroit boy reported missing for 11 days before he was found last June by police emaciated in his family’s basement have been charged with torture and child abuse, prosecutors said on Friday.
Charles Bothuell IV, 46, and his wife, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, 37, could face up to life in prison if convicted of torture and four years in prison if convicted of second-degree child abuse, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
Prosecutors said the child’s parents physically abused him, depriving him of food, banishing him to the basement and forcing extreme exercise.
The boy’s father had reported him missing on June 14, triggering a widespread police search that came up empty until a Michigan State Police sergeant and an FBI agent found him alive and hungry barricaded behind boxes in the basement of his house.
The child, who is now 13 years old, was very thin and had marks on his upper body when he was found, prosecutors said.
Detroit police arrested Bothuell and Dillard-Bothuell, the child’s stepmother, on Friday morning, prosecutors said. Bail was set at $500,000 for each of them during an arraignment on Friday morning, the prosecutor’s office said.