DETROIT, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The father and stepmother of a 12-year-old boy found allegedly hidden in a basement for 11 days in June were charged with torture and child abuse.
Charles Bothuell IV, 46, and his wife, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, 37, were arrested Friday, each charged with one count of torture and child abuse in the second degree. Both pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said the Bothuells systematically tortured Charlie Bothuell, deprived him of food and forced him to undergo an "extreme and unreasonable exercise regime."
"This is the first time that the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged torture for a living child. Based upon the allegations, if any case warrants child torture charges, this one certainly does," the prosecutor's office said.
Charlie was reported missing June 14. He was discovered 11 days later behind some boxes in the basement of the family home. The area had been previously searched three times, including with a cadaver-sniffing dog.
The story of "Basement Boy" gained national attention, especially after TV personality Nancy Grace told the father the boy had been found in the family's basement during the live broadcast. The elder Bothuell appeared shocked.
"I checked my basement," Bothuell said at the time. "The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement."