The father of a Detroit boy found safe in his the basement of his dad’s home after a frantic 11-day search defended his actions Thursday, as police continued to try and unravel the bizarre case.
“We have not done anything wrong with my son, nothing but to try and help him,” father Charles Bothuell IV told NBC affiliate WDIV Thursday, a day after his 12-year-old son, Charlie, was found safe in their home's basement.
The boy was taken to a hospital for an evaluation, and on Thursday was released to his mother, the station reported.
Charlie Bothuell went missing on June 14. His father, Charles Bothuell IV, had appeared on Nancy Grace to appeal for help finding the boy.
The boy's father was stunned to silence when he appeared to learn on live TV that Charlie had been found.
After breathing heavily, puffing his cheeks and clutching his chest, all the father could muster after several moments of silence was "What?" when told by TV host Grace of the reports streaming in. He said his cell phone had died and he hadn't heard anything from investigators before arriving for his TV appearance.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Wednesday that the 12-year-old was found crouching behind a makeshift barricade of boxes in the basement, NBC station WDIV reported. Detroit police spokeswoman Jennifer Moreno told NBC News on Thursday that detectives found cereal and soda with the boy when they discovered him.
"I've never seen anything quite like this," Craig told reporters. "But the outcome — I couldn't be happier."
He said Charlie has been removed from the home and will "get two things — medical treatment and some food."
It seemed unlikely that Charlie could have built the barricade himself, Craig said.
"He was nervous but excited, and glad to see the police," he said.
The boy's father had said the last time he saw Charlie was at his home, when his son took a bathroom break from working out and never came back.
Craig said Wednesday that Charlie's father had been administered a lie-detector test by the FBI, but the results were inconclusive, WDIV reported.
But Bothuell also struck a defiant tone to reporters Wednesday, saying he wanted to take a polygraph test in front of the media to dispel speculation during the search that he was abusive — or worse.
“I want my name cleared and my family’s name cleared,” Bothuell said Wednesday. “I want the truth out to the public.”
No criminal charges were being pursued at this point, the police spokeswoman said.
Investigators had found traces of blood in the house earlier in their investigation, WDIV reported, but Detroit police would not confirm that to NBC News.
"We're regrouping and we have to refocus the investigation now that we have found him alive and well," Moreno said.
Craig told WDIV that the townhouse previously had been searched several times with a cadaver dog, adding that investigators were not certain Charlie had been in the basement the whole time he was missing.
Charlie's father said the same in the dramatic interview with Nancy Grace where he learned the boy had been found.
"I checked my basement, the FBI checked my basement, the Detroit police checked my basement... I've been down there several times," he said, pausing to clutch his heart and stop for deep breaths.
Grace pressed the father several times, asking if the home had been searched and if he had gone to the basement.
"God, they brought dogs, everything ... Everybody has searched," Charles Bothuell IV said. "Oh god, my son."
Charles Bothuell IV's mother, Charlie's grandmother, immediately shot down reporters' questions over whether Charlie's father could have been involved.
"My son has nothing to do with this. I know my son," she told WDIV.
Police are still investigating the strange disappearance, and are exploring the possibility some other adult connected with the family knew Charlie was hiding out in the basement.
“It would be hard for me to tell you someone didn’t know Charlie was there, but I can’t say that definitively,” Craig, the police chief, said.