Detroit boy sent to basement for 11 days for extreme workout, intense exercise

A defense lawyer attacked the credibility of a 13-year-old boy who couldn’t be found for 11 days last summer, repeatedly asking why he failed to emerge from his basement despite visits by police to the Detroit home.

Charlie Bothuell acknowledged that he liked the result of daily rigorous workouts on his overweight body, despite claims by prosecutors that the exercise demanded by his father and stepmother was extreme and unreasonable.

‘I was just happy that my body looked great,’ Charlie said.

They have denied any abuse, although the elder Bothuell told state investigators last year that he had struck his son with a PVC pipe.

Charlie has testified three times. He has said he was sent to the basement by his stepmother as punishment for interrupting a workout last summer. He was expected to do hundreds of pushups, sit-ups and jumping jacks, 25 arm curls with a 25-pound weight and thousands of revolutions on an elliptical machine.

When Charlie took the stand against his father and stepmother at the end of April he said of his home: ‘It was a very terrible place to be. I was expected to do everything perfectly. I was never given any leeway, to make a mistake and learn from it.’

Charlie, who wore glasses, a white shirt, a tie and black pants for his hour-long testimony, was speaking publicly for the first time since he was found in his family’s cluttered and dirty basement.

During Tuesday’s testimony, Charlie did not look at the prosecutor as he described how he was educated at home from 2012. His daily routine involved waking up at 5am for a protein shake.

He was then forced to endure vigorous workouts that lasted up to two hours, followed by a shower, math and science lessons with old books, chores and another workout, he told the court.

‘What would happen if you didn’t do this routine?’ asked the prosecutor. Charlie replied: ‘I would get in trouble, a whipping.’

Smith revealed a statement written by Charlie in 2014 that said he had washed dishes with a sponge that had been exposed to bleach so he could get the family sick and return to his mom’s house.

But under questioning by a prosecutor, Charlie said the words came from his stepmother and he never intended to get anyone sick.

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