My cameraman Aaron Bryant and I arrived at 12-year-old Charlie Bouthell's mother's house in Detroit around 7:30 a.m. Friday to see if we could find out how he's doing.
We parked about three or four townhomes away and walked up to a blue, very creaky porch.
The shades on all of the windows and door were drawn.
I knocked, but only the family dog came to the door. I didn't hear a single sound come from inside the house, and went back to the news van. But, I noticed that a fan had stopped spinning in the second floor window -- and someone was inside.
I went back to the house and knocked again. No answer.
I heard a sound coming from the second story porch and looked up. A tall boy was staring down the street at our news van.
I said, "Charlie, hey. How are you doing? Are you OK?"
The boy looked straight at me and I recognized him as Charlie.
His curious stare at our news van turned to a startled expression when he saw me. Without saying anything, Charlie darted back. He ran back in, like a child might do if he had been told not to answer the door or phone or to go outside.
While camped out there all day, we didn’t see anyone leave the house. Before our noon live hit for Local 4 News, Aaron told me he thought he saw Charlie peeking through that same porch door window. I told him to roll and record.
Just after our noon live shot, Bryant's camera caught a boy that looks just like Charlie on camera. After looking at it, it was the same smile, lips, nose, hair length and teeth as the Charlie we’ve seen in photos -- and the Charlie I saw outside hours earlier.
This child was smiling, looking outside at all the media vans, cameras, reporters and photographers all pointed at his house. Each took turns knocking on the door to no answer.