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Hot Car Dad Speaks from Jail at Son`s Funeral
Aired June 30, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. Police investigating the tragic death of a 22-month-old toddler boy, Cooper, seemingly left alone
for hours in a baking hot car by his father. Tonight, police say Daddy`s story riddled with inconsistencies. This after Daddy breaks down in tears
when he finds his son dead in the boiling hot car, screaming, doubled over in grief when he finds his baby boy. Was the tot who dies after Daddy
forgets him in a boiling hot car actually murdered?
Bombshell tonight. In the last hours, Daddy speaks at the toddler`s funeral, live from the jail. And in the last hours, damning evidence comes
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Toddler...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Left, locked in a hot car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Startling discovery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now investigating the little boy`s mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Am I angry with Ross? Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The little boy died in the back seat of the sweltering vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigative information suggests the manner of death is homicide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And then to Michigan. After we report the case of a desperate father literally running door to door, begging for help to find his little
boy after nobody will help the dad, the case takes a stunning turn. Daddy`s polygraph inconclusive. Stepmommy refuses a local police
polygraph. We break the news to the dad right here on our program his boy is alive in Daddy`s basement, that little boy, Charlie, missing nearly two
weeks, found alive, barricaded in that basement.
As we go to air, Mommy walks free from jail. Does evidence show the boy was forced to live in the basement, suffering beatings with a PVC pipe
over a strict exercise regimen?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought my son was dead, man!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t comment on anything. No comment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Found in his own basement, barricaded in a small space.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say they haven`t ruled out child abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A PVC pipe and bloody clothing were found in the home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to say no comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight. Police investigating the tragic death of a 22- month-old toddler boy found baking in his father`s hot car. Well, tonight, police say Daddy`s story riddled with inconsistencies. In the last hours,
Daddy speaks at his son`s funeral, live from behind bars. Yes, he makes an appearance, so to speak, from behind bars. And in the last hours, damning
evidence is coming to light.
Straight out to Martin Savidge, CNN correspondent, standing by on the scene. Martin, what`s the latest?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nancy, a number of things. One of them, of course, was that emotional funeral in which the father appeared,
over the telephone, much to the shock of many people.
And then there are the warrants that have been released by investigators, and there are at least 10 of them. And they say that the
father admitted to them -- this was quite a shocking revelation, but admitted during interrogation that, yes, he had searched the Internet to
check about how long it would take for a child to die in a hot car. He said he did so because he was worried he would do that. Well, that`s
exactly what police said he did on June 18th with his 22-month-old son.
But then the other bombshell that came from this was that during her questioning, the mother says that she, too, researched the very same thing,
how long it would take for a child to die in the heat, Nancy.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. Joining me tonight, Richard Herman, defense attorney joining us out of Las Vegas, Parag Shah, defense attorney
and author of "The Code," joining us out of Atlanta.
First to you, Richard Herman. Not sure what you`re smiling about. But what do you make...
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`ve just missed you.
GRACE: ... of the father -- we`ll see how you feel by 9:00 o`clock.
GRACE: What do you make of the father doing these searches on the Internet? Because here`s my thinking, Richard. What if -- what if the
search is for the death of toddlers or the death of animals, as other sources have stated the search was, dying in a hot car -- what if that
search occurred after the child was found dead?
Look at the search warrant. The search warrant doesn`t say when the searches were. So what if after the child`s found, the father looks this
up on line, before he`s arrested?
HERMAN: Right. That`s a great defense point, Nancy. And in fact, we don`t know when that search took place. So that`s critical. I mean, if it
took place 24 hours...
GRACE: I just said that!
HERMAN: ... 48 before -- even if it took place 24 to 48 before this...
HERMAN: ... that`s damning evidence.
HERMAN: But we don`t know if it`s a snippet of an entire search...
HERMAN: ... for how to take care of your kid.
GRACE: ... what I said was, what if the search -- I`m going to throw it to you Parag Shah. What if the search was conducted after the body was
PARAG SHAH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if it was conducted after, then it kind of goes to the issue of intent. That means he knew the baby -- the
child was in there, and he was trying to predict how long he could keep the baby in there...
GRACE: OK, I guess...
GRACE: ... I need to go back to English school. I`m going to try it one last time. You know what? Forget it.
To you, Martin Savidge. The search warrant does not show when the damning Internet search was made. What I`m trying to get across is, what
if this Internet search, Martin, was made after the child was found dead? Then it would negate intent.
SAVIDGE: Correct, yes. It would make it look like he was just trying to figure out exactly what happened. It doesn`t necessarily mean he was
GRACE: Now, on the other hand -- let me go out to Haisten Willis, reporter with "The Marietta Daily Journal." Haisten, thanks for being with
us, you and Martin both. Haisten, it seems by the wording, by the wording in this search -- it says that he was looking up how hot it needed to be
for the animal or the child to die in the car. I assume that you`ve read this very carefully. What do you make of it?
HAISTEN WILLIS, "MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL" (via telephone): Yes, that`s very interesting. And if he`s looking at how hot it needs to be, that
tells me maybe he`s not worried about it happening. If he`s worried about it happening, I would think of ways to not have that happen, not -- not how
hot it needs to be. I would just know I don`t want any child in that car, not the temperature itself. Does that make sense?
GRACE: Yes. Take a look at exactly what the search warrant says. Let`s read it verbatim. Michael Christian, what exactly does the warrant
say when we`re talking about -- this is critical because if this was made after the child was found dead, it can completely negate intent he had
anything to do with it. What about it, Michael?
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via telephone): It says in the search warrant applications, Nancy, quote, "During an interview with
Justin, he stated that he recently researched through the Internet child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to
occur. Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen." But again, there`s no indication...
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa, whoa, wait!
CHRISTIAN: ... there when. It continues to say...
GRACE: Fearful that this could happen. All right. Back to the lawyers, Richard Herman, Parag Shah, "fearful that this could happen."
When it`s stated like that, and these are his exact words, that suggests that these searches, these damning searches were done before the child was
Are you two with me? Do you see where I`m going with this? If this damning computer search was done before the child was dead, then it`s
damning because it`s too coincidental. You`re looking up how can a small animal die in a car, How hot does it need to be -- that`s his words, not
mine. If that`s done and then your child dies in a hot car, there`s no coincidence in criminal law, Richard Herman.
HERMAN: Nancy, if the search was done a year ago and the search was part of a global search on things that could happen to your children, it`s
not as damning as you`d like to think it is. If it`s 24 to 48 hours before this incident happened, it`s damning.
GRACE: Well, didn`t you just heard...
HERMAN: But your point, it could have been done after...
GRACE: ... in the search warrant, it said recently? Recently?
HERMAN: We don`t know what that means, "recently."
GRACE: He said, I recently -- well, let`s see...
HERMAN: We don`t know if that means...
GRACE: ... what date he gave the statement. Michael Christian, we all have hundreds of documents in front of us. Look at the search warrant
that you`re reading from and tell me the date that that search warrant was executed, the date that the affidavit was sworn and given.
While you`re looking, Michael Christian, Martin Savidge, tell me what happened at baby Cooper`s funeral.
SAVIDGE: Well, this was a funeral held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was held the same day those documents were released, by the way. And it
was very emotional. It was said to have several hundred people there.
But you had the mother speak. That`s Leanna (ph) Harris. And she really gave what was the first family statement on all of this. It was
supposed to be the eulogy for her son, but instead, she stands up and begins defending her audience. (sic) At one point, she says that he is a
loving and caring father, at which point the congregation stood up and applauded. And then right after that, the father comes in via telephone
and thanks everybody for being there.
GRACE: What else did he say, Martin, exactly?
SAVIDGE: Well, exactly -- he then started talking -- a lot of it was unintelligible. I have to tell you that. And was not in that church
service, so I`m hearing it from other witnesses that were there. But he gets very, very emotional, and that was part of the difficulty in listening
to his exact words. So I cannot quote it to you word for word, Nancy.
GRACE: OK, some of what we know that he said was that he was sorry, that -- it was very garbled because he`s on a jail phone, something about a
good life. In other words, the child had a good life. He kept repeating how sorry he was. He was sobbing from the jailhouse. And there was no
cell phone or audio recording made of it at the funeral. But I can tell you this, every phone call made from the jail from those pay phones is
Out to the lines. Audrey, South Dakota. Hi, Audrey. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I was just wondering why it`s not a policy for all day cares to call both the mother and the father when the child
doesn`t show up at their normal scheduled time?
GRACE: Well, what`s interesting, Audrey, is the day care there at Home Depot had called either the father or the mother, that should have
done the trick because -- Haisten Willis joining me from "Marietta Daily Journal" -- if they had -- here`s a shot of that Little Apron Academy. If
they had called the mother, then she apparently would have called the father. If they had called the father, that would have alerted him he had
left the child in the car, right, Haisten?
WILLIS: As far as I know, yes.
GRACE: OK, back to you, Michael Christian. I`ve got it right in front of me here, the search warrant we`re talking about, and it`s signed
the 19th day of June. This is the day after the baby died on June 18th. And in this wording, the father says -- and I`m quoting directly from the
search warrant -- he says that he recently did an -- "he recently researched through the Internet child death inside vehicles and what
temperature it needs to be for that to occur."
He recently did that. And this is the day after -- the day after the baby`s found dead in the boiling hot car.
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. At this hour, new disturbing details emerging in the story of little Cooper, who boiled in his father`s car
while Daddy was inside at work. We are taking your calls.
Another issue has popped up. Let me go to you on this, Martin Savidge. I understand the father was going out to meet friends, what,
SAVIDGE: Right. Yes. I mean, one of the things that has stood out in a lot of people`s minds is that he says he got to work at 9:30 but he
left a little after 4:00 o`clock in the afternoon. Most folks work 9:00 to 5:00, at least. So he left early, and apparently, the reason he left was
that he was going to meet friends for a drink, some have said friends and a movie.
Either way, though, he apparently did not have to -- or it did not trigger in his mind to pick his son up from day care, which apparently is
his normal routine to drop him off. None of this jogged his memory he had a child in the back seat.
GRACE: Is that right, Haisten Willis from "Marietta Daily Journal"? So that day that he was leaving work, he was going to go out and meet
friends for drinks and possibly a movie after work. Is that correct? Do we know where he was going? And also let me get this straight -- I just
heard Martin Savidge say this. Did he normally take the baby to day care or did they swap off?
WILLIS: I think he occasionally took the child to day care. But there are several bars in that area where he pulled off and discovered the
child. However, it`s at least a 10-minute drive from where he works. He would have had to forget the child for the length of the time he was
driving right up until he reached that shopping center, which is pretty busy, pretty crowded, where he pulled out.
GRACE: OK. In the middle of all this, seemingly, politics are at work. Already, people are attacking the district attorney for bringing
these charges. And I ask you, should the district attorney not bring the charges and pretend nothing happened, or bring the charges and let a jury
determine what happened?
Take a look at what is already on the Internet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the people who are elected to make the right decision choose to use a terrible tragedy as a platform for personal gain,
real people suffer, family, friends and the community. Walking in the shoes of others is an important trait...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This is ridiculous! Showing the elected district attorney and suggesting he`s bringing these charges for political gain -- ridiculous!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A horrible accident has happened, and the worst has come to pass. He`s a wonderful father who would trade places with his
son in a second. There is no evidence indicating Ross did this on purpose. The charges are outrageous, and in turn, Ross receives no bail and no
opportunity to grieve with his family. He will remain in custody awaiting trial in mid-July. Overbearing charges could send his family into
bankruptcy and more pain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: OK, it goes on and on and on. It`s posted on YouTube by a group supporting the release of Justin Ross Harris. I`m very disturbed
Unleash the lawyers, Richard Herman and Parag Shah. To suggest that Victor Reynolds is doing this for political gain -- if he didn`t bring
charges, it would be wrong. And of course, maybe I`m barking up the wrong tree with you two, but this is something to be decided by a grand jury and
a jury. This has to go to a jury trial. And if it`s lost, then fine. But that`s to be determined by the people, not by the district attorney.
SHAH: Yes, but I think it`s good that they`re doing this because they`re putting some public opinion out there, putting some pressure on how
this prosecution is done, so that way, it`s not done recklessly. So I think this was a good move.
GRACE: I don`t even know what you`re saying! Not done recklessly? I mean, there`s not even a suggestion of anything reckless having gone on,
Parag Shah. Nothing reckless has gone on.
SHAH: Now, but what I`m saying...
SHAH: ... is that they`re trying to make sure that justice is served in this situation.
GRACE: No, what they`re trying to do is use this child for political purposes. That`s what they`re trying to do. The father, at best, leaves
the child in a hot car to die. And now these supporters have dragged Vic Reynolds, who I know -- I trained as a prosecutor many years ago -- to
suggest he`s bringing these charges for political gain.
Martin Savidge, Vic Reynolds is not running for anything. He got elected in, I think, 2012. So what good is this prosecution doing him
except putting him on the hot seat?
SAVIDGE: Right. Exactly that. It appears that this came out extremely early. We tried to track down who exactly was behind this and
why was it put out. But you can see it`s a highly polished, well-put- together video, and now it`s accessible to anyone. Initially, not many people had seen it. But the numbers are growing.
GRACE: Well, another thing, Martin Savidge, this on-line petition to have the DA drop charges -- that petition has been withdrawn. That
petition is no more, now that facts are seeping out.
SAVIDGE: Correct, right. It had been withdrawn. It said due to new revelations that had come to light, it was felt that this was not
appropriate at this time. The person who put it up there did say that she still hopes and prays that this was a tragic accident. But you`re right,
they`ve withdrawn that.
GRACE: Damning evidence as it emerges by the hour. Out to David Diamond, neuroscientist, professor at University of South Florida, wrote --
is the expert in forgotten baby syndrome. David Diamond, Doctor, thank you for being with us. What do you make of the case, David?
DAVID DIAMOND, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (via telephone): Well, this case actually has elements that I`ve seen in dozens of other
cases like this. In fact, it`s happened hundreds of times in the past 20 years. About the only thing that`s unique about this case is the Internet
search that he conducted, which may very well be coincidental.
GRACE: What about it? To you, Dr. Ann Contrucci, ER physician joining us out of Atlanta.
DR. ANN CONTRUCCI, PHYSICIAN: Nancy, this is -- you know, kids that are left in cars unattended -- first of all, kids are different than
adults. We -- children will absorb heat much more rapidly. So this was a little child. He within probably 15 to 30 minutes, you know -- well,
within 10 minutes easily, when the temperature of the car had already gone up by probably at least 20 degrees, and it was 90 outside. So do the math
on that. We`re at 110.
He was probably beginning to experience a rapid heart rate. I mean, just the symptoms he was experiencing -- rapid heart rate, dizziness,
headache, possibly vomiting, possibly seizures before he died. Children cannot handle this level of heat, and it happens very, very quickly, very
quickly. It`s -- I don`t even know what else to say about it.
GRACE: In the last hours, we learn what happened at Cooper`s funeral. This baby, Cooper, that you`re looking at, dies in a hot car after Daddy
goes in to work at Home Depot for seven long hours before leaving to go have drinks and a movie with friends. We learn that the mom, Cooper`s mom,
spoke -- let me ask you a question, Martin Savidge. Does the mom work outside the home?
SAVIDGE: You know what, Nancy, we`ve been trying to determine that. We do not know. She apparently is trained in being a nutritionist. But trying
to track down details about this family has been extremely difficult. The attorney, despite repeated calls, will not talk to us, and family members
say they have been told by the attorney not to speak, so we know very little.
GRACE: Interesting. I`m wondering why the day care never called her or did they? And did she call the husband? But what I`m concerned about
right now is, what was said at the funeral? And I`m also concerned because after dissecting all of these hundreds of pages of documents we`ve gotten
on this search warrant, Martin Savidge, the mom says, after the dad says, I recently did an Internet search on how long it would take an animal or a
child to die in a hot car, the temperature needed for that to happen, well, then all of a sudden mommy chimes in and says, oh, yes, yes, yes, he did
it, I did it, too. We both did an Internet search. OK? I find that very, very odd. That they would both do the same Internet search. Okay, take a
listen to what mommy said at Cooper`s funeral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss him with all of my heart. Would I bring him back? No. To bring him back into this broken world would be selfish.
Am I angry with God? No. This is part of his plan for Ross and I.
Is this our purpose? I don`t know. I`m still waiting on the Lord to reveal that to me.
Am I angry with Ross? Absolutely not. It has never crossed my mind. Ross is and was and will be, if we have more children, a wonderful father.
Ross is a wonderful daddy and leader for our children. Cooper meant the world to him. There was not a day that went by that we did not say how
blessed we were able to have him in our lives.
I am happy a list of things my son will skip. His first heartbreak. I won`t have to see that. Junior high and high school, I didn`t like it.
Who to sit with at lunch in those awkward middle school years. He will not have to suffer through the death of his mimi and granddad --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Maybe I`m projecting, but if my child died, I would not be happy. I would not be grateful. I would not be thankful. To you, Dr.
Ann, you have seen mothers as they see their child die, wrestling with their child having died in the emergency room. What do you make of this?
CONTRUCCI: Nancy, I`m sitting here with chills as we speak about this. As a mother myself and you`re a mother as well, there`s no mother
I`ve ever seen that has lost her child -- first of all, usually they can`t even leave the side of their child -- and then to say these kind of things
-- this is what part of life is about. This is part of what as a mother you do. You`re there for your child`s first heartbreak, when they have
problems at the lunch table at school or whatever -- I don`t even understand. This is really bothersome to me.
GRACE: I got to tell you, just hearing you talking about it and hearing what the mom said -- and I don`t want to pile on the mom. I just
find the whole thing is for -- the funeral was spent defending the husband and not talking about the baby, and the mom goes on and on talking about
how she`s glad the baby doesn`t grow up, that it won`t have to decide who to sit with at lunch at school? To Dr. Ramani Durvasala, clinical
psychologist, what is this? Some kind of self-protection? What is this?
DURVASULA: Nancy, let`s start with, it is definitely bizarre. But the fact is grief brings out a lot of different reactions in people. I
have to say, I`ve rarely heard anything like this, where they`re actually trying to pitch the child`s death as something not entirely tragic -- but
GRACE: Another thing, too, Dr. Ramani, what about the fact that as soon as it comes out that the dad says, oh, yes, I did these Internet
searches on how hot it needs to be for a child to die, and sources told us also searches for dead animals -- animals dying in hot cars. Then suddenly
the mom goes, oh, yes, I did that, too. Can I just say in the six and a half years the children have been alive, my twins, I`ve never researched
how hot my minivan would have to be for them to die in there. I wouldn`t even think of that.
DURVASULA: And Nancy, what`s really trouble is that if in fact he was researching these things, then that should have made him probably pay more
attention to this. It makes it even far less likely that he leaves a child -- you`d think all these Internet searches would leave him to want to keep
checking on the child because he was so concerned about it. That`s the part to me as a psychologist that doesn`t entirely ring true.
GRACE: Exactly, exactly. And to Dr. Ann Contrucci, I`ve covered so many cases where parents claim the child dies in the bathtub. My children
are nearly 7. I will not get further than 3 or 4 feet away from the bathroom because I`m so worried something could happen to them. This
father even by his own words recently did those searches. What does that say to you, Doctor?
CONTRUCCI: It tells me, just like your last guest says, then he would be even more cognizant. How do you not -- you put the baby in the car in
the morning. What did you think happened to him?
GRACE: Out to the lines, Joanna, what`s your question?
CALLER: I was wondering if they had life insurance on this baby, if they had looked into these people`s financial troubles, maybe.
GRACE: OK. You know what? Joanna in Illinois, good question. To Haisten Willis, Marietta Daily Journal, is there life insurance on this
WILLIS : We don`t know, but a lot of people around are speculating about that. I`ve heard that from a lot of people I`ve talked to over the
last couple of weeks.
GRACE: That`s not even occurred to me that you would engineer a child`s death, a baby`s death to get life insurance -- Martin Savidge, what
do you know if anything?
SAVIDGE: Same thing. We`ve tried to investigate that very issue. We have not found out about life insurance. We will say that a look at the
family`s records shows no obvious indication of financial problems.
GRACE: OK. Because I can`t figure out if the mom is working -- I know the dad has had this job for about two years. But what I know tonight
is what was said at that funeral by the mom. And I know from these search warrants where the police are headed with this. I know that this has
created a hailstorm around the elected district attorney, Vic Reynolds, who is just trying to take this case to a jury for them to decide. And I know
that the mom is now seemingly trying to chime in with the dad claiming, oh, yes, I did the Internet searches, too. Haisten Willis, Marietta Daily
Journal, where do we go from here, what`s the next milestone in the case? Where are police headed?
WILLIS: Certainly July 3rd is the next appearance for Ross. We should know a lot more then. I`ve talked to several lawyers who say based
on what they`ve seen so far, they would not move this case forward if they were the magistrate court judge. We should find out a lot during
GRACE: Welcome back. Now to Michigan. We report the case of a desperate father literally running door to door asking for help to find his
little boy. Then the case takes a stunning turn when daddy`s polygraph is inconclusive and stepmommy refuses a local polygraph. We break the news to
daddy right here on our program, his son found alive in daddy`s basement. That little boy, Charlie, missing nearly two weeks, found alive, barricaded
in that basement. And now does evidence show that the boy was forced to live in the basement, suffering beatings from a PVC pipe over a strict
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Your son has been found in your basement.
CHARLIE BOTHUELL: What?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police found Charlie in his own basement, the boy crouched down barricaded behind a stack of boxes and a 55-gallon
barrel, items so heavy, officials say, he couldn`t have constructed it himself.
They haven`t ruled out child abuse after finding a PVC pipe and blood- stained clothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking your calls. Straight out to Charlie Langton, WWJ, 950. Charlie, in the last hours, the stepmother, who had been taken
into custody over a probation violation -- and let me just -- here she is. Her probation violation was that she was on the side of the road, police
came up, she said, I`ve got a gun in the car but my permit is expired. They arrested her. During the search of the home, this stepmommy, Monique
Bothuell, was arrested after the search of the home. She had been questioned about little Charlie`s disappearance. I guess they weren`t
getting the answers they wanted, because they revoked her probation for finding a gun in the home.
Charlie Langton, she`s out. Where is little Charlie Bothuell and is it true that we -- there are reports that the stepmother forced the child
down there? Was that to protect him or to punish him? And is it true the little boy is covered in bruises on his behind and on his chest that match
the imprint of a PVC pipe?
LANGTON: Yes, first of all, we know now little Charlie has been removed from both dad and stepmom. Little Charlie is in a secluded place.
We don`t know where he is. That`s the first thing.
But, yes, in the hospital, little Charlie was found to have bruises on his chest that did match a PVC pipe. In fact, Charlie said that his father
would drive the PVC pipe into his chest. There were also old scars found on his buttocks. The child says he was beaten by that pipe.
This was from a petition from Child Protective Services file. This is from Charlie. This is from a kid interview that the police did while the
child was in the hospital. The child said that the mother, the stepmother, barricaded him in the basement, and he was told -- the child was told not
to come out no matter what he hears.
GRACE: Here`s what I can`t jibe with that, what the grandmother said. Clark Goldband, how did the grandmother describe what little Charlie looked
GOLDBAND: Nancy, according to court documents filed by Child Protective Services, the grandma told investigators, allegedly the FBI,
that the last time she saw Charlie before he vanished, in her words, he looked like a cancer patient. I just want to point out, Nancy, all the
information you`ve just heard reported are all accusations that come from either the child, the grandma, or what investigators were able to learn.
They`re all coming from that child --
GRACE: I don`t think saying that the stepmother tried to help him is an accusation, Clark, but what I can`t -- I can`t make it jibe that the
stepmother was helping him by putting him in the basement, yet the stepmother -- they were letting him starve, that the grandmother said he
looked like a cancer patient, he was so thin.
GOLDBAND: Nancy, we have also just learned from that same court document is that Charlie says he was told not to go upstairs no matter
what, and had to go take his own food when he allegedly heard nobody was home, and then went back downstairs, according to court documents.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. Richard Herman, Parag Shah. I`m reading directly from court documents from the state of Michigan. I`m just
fabricating this or grabbing it out of thin air. He was described as very skinny, quote, almost looked like a cancer patient with marks all over his
arms and chest.
Now, listen, our program wanted to help the father find his son. But now we are learning the child is covered with bruises and scars that match
the PVC pipe, Richard Herman. Somebody was beating that child, Richard Herman.
HERMAN: Well, somebody was. And in all your shows, that had to be the top bombshell of all the years, Nancy. It was phenomenal television --
GRACE: Please get to the point.
HERMAN: We don`t know if the PVC pipe caused -- there will be another defense position on that. Obviously the kid is bruised up. I understand
the kid had some issues in school. Look, the father --
GRACE: I don`t know why you`re throwing that in there.
HERMAN: Tough love. We don`t know -- the PVC pipe --
GRACE: Did you just say tough love?
GRACE: I don`t think beating with a PVC pipe --
HERMAN: We don`t know if he was beaten.
GRACE: All right. Good point. Let`s go to Dr. Ann Contrucci, she`s the one that works at the children`s hospital in the E.R. Let`s find out
from her. What does it mean to you, Doctor, when there are marks on this little boy`s chest, bruises, marks that match a PVC pipe?
CONTRUCCI: Well, that`s pretty concerning, Nancy. That`s one of the things we look for when dealing with suspicions of child abuse, certain
shapes of bruises, certain shapes of marks, teeth marks, cigarette burns have a very characteristic mark. I`ve never taken care of anybody who`s
been beaten by a PVC pipe, but certainly you can have -- with the diameter of it, et cetera. It`s concerning.
GRACE: We are getting breaks news out of the story, this man going door to door looking for his 12-year-old son. Well, we find him in his
basement. You know, Clark Goldband, the defense lawyers are already saying well, you don`t know that he beat the boy with that pipe. No. 1, Dr. Ann
Contrucci just told us you can match the item up to the bruises. But I`m looking at the documents we`ve just obtained, and it says -- these are
court documents. It says the father states that he has disciplined the child with the PVC pipe and is disclosed to Child Protective Services by
the FBI that blood is on the pipe.
GOLDBAND: Right, Nancy. But I think if you parse through that, the key word is discipline. What does that mean? That`s a wide gamut that the
authorities are going to be investigating into. Also Nancy --
GRACE: Are you serious? You think there`s any rational way to explain blood on a pipe and that`s disciplining a child?
GOLDBAND: Well, Nancy, what one of the defense attorneys is saying to the local media right now, he`s arguing that it may have come from the
child`s eczema. You know a dry skin problem.
GOLDBAND: Yes. That`s what the attorney has said.
GRACE: Eczema? Is that what you just said?
GOLDBAND: I`m horrible at --
GRACE: Let`s see Clark Goldband, to see if he actually has a straight face. He does. OK.
GOLDBAND: I`m horrible at spelling, but yes, eczema.
GRACE: I don`t even know where to go with that. No. 1, Dr. Contrucci, disciplining a child with a pipe, with blood on it, a PVC pipe,
how can that ever be appropriate, Doctor, disciplining a child?
CONTRUCCI: It`s just not. Let me talk about eczema for just a minute. Eczema can be bad enough if you scratch enough, that you can bleed
a little bit.
GRACE: On a pipe?
CONTRUCCI: Not on a pipe. That doesn`t even make any sense. And again, getting back to the shapes of objects that are used to beat children
with, belts, pipes, in this instance potentially, cigarettes. Et cetera, there`s characteristic marks that we look for. So, an eczema, no. Blood
on a pipe is from the bruising.
GRACE: Another thing here, to Parag Shah, in this document, it says the boy says he was placed in the basement by his stepmother and barricaded
behind boxes and totes, placed. That doesn`t mean that the stepmother is trying to help him. It sounds like he was forced there. And of course all
of these are only allegations, nothing has been proven in a court of law, Parag Shah.
SHAH: That`s correct. And it could be part of punishment and she forgot about him or she could be trying to help him.
GRACE: Wait. Whoa. Please stop. Did you say forcing the child to stay in the basement is punishment, did you just say that?
SHAH: Like a time-out.
GRACE: Remember how I told you one time that you should be a parent, that you`re missing so much joy? Yeah. Scratch. You don`t need to be a
parent. If you think it`s okay to give you child a time-out barricaded in the basement --
SHAH: I didn`t say it was okay. What I said is.
GRACE: -- with nothing to eat. I heard what you said, Parag. I heard what you said. Giving the child a time-out in the basement. With
nothing to eat. Barricaded. What is it okay to beat him with a PVC pipe too?
GRACE: Welcome back. Breaking news in the case of the search for little Charlie Bothuell. What about the other children in the home? This
petition, I`ve got this particular petition is Child Protective Services is trying to take the little brother and little sister out of the home.
Charlie has five siblings in all. Two of them younger than him live with the stepmother and the father. It was reported by a local reporter that
they recently had a family picture where little Charlie was not in the picture. They had the stepmother, the father and their two natural
children, and Charlie was kept out of the picture. You know, that`s just an aside, which is not probative, but why are they trying to take the other
two children out of the custody of the parents?
CONTRUCCI: It`s always very important when you`ve got a suspected case of child abuse that the other children that live in the home are
checked out as well, so that would be one of my questions, is have they been checked out, do they have any suspicious marks, bruises, et cetera.
GRACE: Everyone, as the story develops, we`re on it.
Let`s stop and remember American hero, Army Specialist Arqeez Knight (ph), 24, San Juan, California, second tour, Army Commendation Medal.
National Defense Service Medal. Loved computer animation and gaming. Parents, Jerry and Edie (ph). Sister Summer. Brothers Jerry and Jeffrey,
Arqueez Knight, American hero.
And tonight, a special happy birthday, one of our superstars, Shayzon, wife and mother of two beautiful children. Happy birthday, Shay.
Everyone, again, thank you for being with us. Drew up next. I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night,