Charlie Bothuell testifies about abuse, hiding in basement

On Wednesday 13-year-old Charlie Bothuell  took the stand to describe the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of his father and stepmother. 

A judge will determine if the Detroit couple will stand trial for child abuse and torture.

"My dad had a PVC pipe," Bothuell said. "He drove it into my chest and twisted it and cut some of my skin off."

Dressed in a shirt and tie, Bothuell describes why he was afraid to leave the Detroit basement he says he was forced to hide in last summer. 

His father, Charlie Bothuell and his step-mother Monique Dillard-Bothuell's preliminary exam continues Wednesday.

 "I was just afraid," Charlie said. "I didn't think anyone would believe me."

Charlie Bothuell, then 12 years old, was missing for 11 days before police discovered him. Young Charlie testified that during that period he never left the home. 

He says his stepmother forced him to hide in the basement behind boxes and a barrel. She then called his father, telling him he was missing. 

"She said if I heard anything to shut up and be quiet," Charlie said.

Charlie, also testifying that he had to use a drain in the basement floor as a toilet. He also said his stepmother brought him cereal and protein shakes.

He said he sneaked upstairs to get food, adding that he never said anything out of fear.

But during the defense's cross-examination, Charlie admitted to skipping school, lying about doing his homework and lying to police at one point.

Defense attorney Godfrey Dillard: "You had some behavioral problems, at school, didn't you?"

Bothuell: "Yes."

Dillard: "You had gotten into some fights."

Bothuell: "Yes."

Dillard: You had been lying to the teachers, right."

Bothuell: "Yes."

The defense also argued that Charlie has a history of trying to poison his parents, adding that he became a straight-A student after moving in with his father.

Defense attorneys also argued that rigorous workout routines were recommended by his parents and his doctor to lose weight and that Charlie, not physically injured during his disappearance they say, could have left the home at any time.

Dillard: "Is there anything preventing you, but your free will from going outside and leaving?" 

The preliminary exam will resume May 20 with Charlie's cross-examination. Both sides have numerous witnesses to call.
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