Wednesday was another day on the stand for 13-year-old Charlie Bothuell IV, the child who disappeared for 11 days last summer before he was found alive in his parents' basement. On Wednesday, he faced a tough line of questioning about why his story had changed.
The point of the questioning was to bring into doubt the credibility of the child. Sean Patrick Smith represents his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and argues that Charlie's statement were inconsistent.
Charlie's father and stepmother, Monique Dillard Bothuell, are both charged with torture and child abuse. Charlie testified that his stepmother forced him down there and his father beat him with a PVC pipe and made him complete rigorous workout routines.
Smith said that Charlie told his mother he was happy.
"Those emails indicate that you were happy, you were here and you working hard, and you were getting strong," Smith said. Charlie answered yes to that statement.
The defense also accused Charlie of doing whatever he could to go live with his mother. That included trying to commit suicide and running away because his father and stepmother were too strict.
Smith claimed Charlie tried to poison the family with bleach on a cleaning sponge and even submitted a so-called apology letter. The letter claims that he tried to poison the family by using a cleaning sponge to wash dishes in hopes that it would make his family sick. Charlie says he wrote what he was told by his stepmother.
The defense also questioned how much prosecutors have been coaching Charlie and accused him of changing his story, hiding, and lying. They referenced a time in 2012 when Charlie ran away and claimed a man with gray hair held him in a tunnel. He admitted in court that it was a lie.
Charlie insists he isn't lying now and he can't remember every detail and never left that basement out of fear.
The preliminary hearing continues on June 8th and the prosecution plans to redirect with two additional witnesses: Detroit Police Officers.