DETROIT (AP) – A 12-year-old boy who had been missing for a week and a half and was the subject of an extensive police search was found alive and well Wednesday in the basement of his home.
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.
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.
When police found the boy, he was behind some boxes and a large plastic drum. Bedding also was found nearby. The boy will be medically evaluated.
“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.