DETROIT, June 26 (UPI) -- A Detroit father learned his missing son had been found in his basement while appearing live on national television to raise awareness of the disappearance.
Charlie Bothuell IV was scheduled to appear on Nancy Grace Wednesday afternoon when news broke his son, Charlie, who had been missing for 11 days, was found alive in Bothuell's basement.
As the interview began, Grace broke the news to a visibly surprised Bothuell.
"I checked my basement," Bothuell said after heaving and stammering for a few moments. "The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement."
It's not yet clear why Charlie was hiding in his father's basement, but police suspect some form of child abuse.
"There's no way he could have erected this make-shift area of concealment, I'll call it," Detroit Police Chief James Craig told Detroit Fox affiliate WJBK.
After visiting Bothuell's house for a fifth time, investigators noticed a door in the basement connecting to an underground tunnel that led to a barricaded pen with a bed, some food and 12-year-old Charlie hiding behind a barrel.
"We found him barricaded in the basement, behind boxes and a large five-gallon drum," explained Craig.
"He certainly was excited to see us. I had a chance to actually talk and embrace Charlie."
According to local reports, Charlie told his rescuers that his stepmother had been providing him with food while he was down there, something the Bothuell family denies. Charlie also described the strict exercise routine his father forced him to adhere to and said Bothuell often beat with a PVC pipe.
"My client, Mr. Bothuell and his wife, had no participation in this," Bothuell's attorney Mark Magidson said. "They would have not brought this entire media circus, ... FBI, all of this - for what purpose? For what gain?"