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Michigan investigators talk with boy about basement ordeal

By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN
updated 8:07 PM EDT, Fri June 27, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police to interview boy again, maybe Friday
  • Stepmother arrested on unrelated charge
  • Protective Services gives mother custody of boy
  • Police talk to boy, but won't reveal details

(CNN) -- Michigan investigators are learning more about what happened to a Michigan boy after he vanished for almost two weeks, then suddenly turned up in the basement of his father and stepmother's home in Detroit.

Police talked with Charlie Bothuell for the first time Thursday about his disappearance and the events leading up to the bizarre discovery Wednesday of the boy hidden away in the basement..

"We are getting some good information from Charlie," said Detroit Police spokesman Sgt Michael Woody, but he wouldn't reveal what the boy said.

Police may talk with the 12-year-old, again, as soon as Friday. "We're getting all the information we can for prosecutors so they can decide whether they'll be able to file charges, if any," Woody added.

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The boy, who was turned over to his mother's custody, met with child psychologists before talking to police Thursday.

While Woody did say authorities are not ruling out child abuse in the case, he would not comment on whether there was any sign of physical abuse against the child.

In another development Thursday, the boy's stepmother, identified as Monique Bothuell, was arrested. She was taken into custody for a probation violation on an unrelated weapons charge, police confirmed.

Authorities obtained a warrant for her arrest on Monday, but waited until Thursday to take her into custody. "The most important thing for us, at the time, was finding Charlie," Woody said.

In addition to Charlie, Monique and Charles Bothuell have two other children. Both were taken into protective custody, investigators added.

The child's father is not allowed to have any contact with Charlie while the investigation continues. Investigators said this is standard operating procedure in such a case.

Father: I have no idea how it happened

The boy was discovered in the basement behind a barricade Wednesday after numerous searches of the home in the days following his disappearance on June 14.

"I've never seen anything quite like this," Detroit Police Chief James Craig told CNN affiliate WXYZ-TV.

"We found him barricaded in the basement, behind boxes and a large ... drum. There's no way he could have erected this makeshift area of concealment."

Police said when they found the child in the basement, it appeared he had recently arrived there and didn't appear to be captive.

In another appearance on HLN's Nancy Grace show, Charles Bothuell again denied knowing his son was in the basement. "I have no idea how that happened," he told Grace on Thursday night.

Bothuell was on the show Wednesday when he was told on live TV by Grace that authorities had found his son in the basement.

Police spokesman: Charlie didn't appear to be captive

Police were executing a search warrant at the home Wednesday afternoon when they found Charlie in a corner of a small basement room behind a furnace and a mechanical unit.

Woody said something in particular led police to the basement but declined to say what it was.

Charlie smiled at police and didn't appear to be a captive, Woody said.

It appeared he arrived there recently, and investigators found cereal and soda in the area, Woody said.

The basement had no restroom, but investigators are working on an assumption that he had access to one, according to Woody.

Woody said police have not ruled out charges in the case. He said investigators found bloody clothing at the home but did not elaborate on its significance or say where exactly it was found.

On Wednesday, Craig, the police chief, said investigators had searched the home four times, including once with a cadaver dog.

"We're not certain Charlie was here during those visits," he said.

Craig was asked during an impromptu news conference Wednesday whether an adult was responsible for hiding the boy in the basement.

"We're not ruling that out," he said. "It would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that someone didn't know Charlie was there, but I can't say definitively."

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CNN's Jethro Mullen, Ross Levitt, Susan Candiotti, Rosa Flores, Greg Botelho, Melanie Whitley, Matthew Stucker, Jason Hanna and Christy Lenz contributed to this report.

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