Detroit parents accused of beating, torturing, hiding son in basement in court

The father and stepmother accused of abusing and torturing 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell were back in court Friday where an expert testified the abuse was going on for years.

Charlie Bothuell V was 12 last June when police found him among boxes in the basement. His father, Charlie Bothuell IV, said he was shocked and didn't know the boy's whereabouts.

The boy was reported missing after not being seen for two weeks. He was found in the basement of the family's town home hiding behind a barrier of boxes and a barrel. 

Charles' dad and his step-mom, Monique Dillard-Bothuell are accused of forcing him to stay in the basement, denying him food and demanding that he follow a twice-a-day regimen of 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups and thousands of revolutions on an elliptical machine.

Dr. Dena Nazer is a Pediatrics Child Abuse Expert. She was the sole witness to take the stand and spent hours taking questions from the prosecution and defense. 

"He was isolated in the basement for ten days," Nazer said. "He was home schooled for a portion of his educational years. He was threatened to be killed and was told nobody would know because he's home schooled."

Watch the entire afternoon of testimony on our YouTube page.

Nazer said when he was found, he had marks on his body and told officials that he had been beaten with a PVC pipe.

Nazer did not interview any of the parties involved, including young Charlie. She said she reviewed records and photos and testified he was physically and psychologically abused.

"He said he was unable to do a certain workout that he was supposed to be doing and that was the reason he was sent down to the basement," she also said he was very afraid of both his father and step-mom.

The defense, meanwhile, painted a picture of Charlie as a troubled boy who assaulted classmates. Shawn Patrick Smith is representing the defense. He said young Charlie was once diagnosed by a doctor as being overweight and had a psychiatric illness.

"He has a history of lying. Unfortunately the woman who testified did not take any of that into account. She never interviewed the kid and she comes out and starts saying he's been tortured and a victim of child abuse," Smith said.

Roughly 50 people are listed as possible witnesses, including young Charlie. The case resumes April 14.