DETROIT (AP) — Investigators didn’t conduct a “no-stone-unturned’ search of a Detroit basement before a boy reported missing was finally found there after 11 days, a police officer testified Thursday.
On cross-examination, Lori Dillon said she wasn’t surprised that Charlie Bothuell, 12 at the time, wasn’t found earlier by local, state and federal authorities last June.
A judge will decide whether the boy’s father and stepmother will go to trial on torture and child abuse charges.
It was possible to miss Charlie “due to the conditions of the basement,” Dillon said. “There had not been a full, complete … no-stone-unturned search of the basement.”
Charlie’s father, also named Charlie Bothuell, and Monique Dillard-Bothuell deny the charges and insist they didn’t know the boy was in the basement. The elder Bothuell was giving an interview to cable TV host Nancy Grace last summer when he got the news.
Authorities say the boy, now 13, was isolated, struck with a plastic pipe, forced to perform rigorous workouts and given a limited diet. Defense attorneys claim Charlie lied to police and was moving around on his own.
Outside court, defense attorney Shawn Smith said Dillon’s description of limited basement searches was a “shocking misrepresentation” and conflicts with police reports.
“My eyes almost popped out,” he said.
Judge Shannon Holmes has heard testimony over parts of four days, but the boy hasn’t been called as a witness yet. The hearing will resume April 28.
There were some tense exchanges between Dillon and Smith, especially when Dillon said she hugged Charlie when he emerged from the basement last June 25.
“Did you learn that in the police academy?” the lawyer asked.
“To be affectionate? No,” Dillon replied. “I’m a mom.”
Smith shot back: “What you did learn at the police academy is to be objective, impartial, professional.”
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