Charlie Bothuell
Charlie Bothuell's father, Charles, is told his son has been found in his basement live on TV. YouTube/HLN

A missing US child was found barricaded into his father's basement 11 days after he mysteriously disappeared.

Detroit Police were puzzled at how 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell, who they feared might have been killed, popped up in his own house, which they had unsuccessfully searched several times.

"I've never seen anything quite like this," Detroit Police Chief James Craig told local WXYZ television adding the child indicated he was hungry and seemed excited to see police.

Craig said the boy was hidden behind a make-shift barrier he could have hardly erected alone.

"We found him barricaded in the basement, behind boxes and a large five-gallon drum. There's no way he could have erected this makeshift area of concealment," Craig said.

To add to the drama, the boy's father, Charles Bothuell IV, was discussing the case live on television when he was told his son had been found alive in his basement.

Bothuell looked visibly shocked at the news and remained speechless for some time.

A few hours earlier, police had held a press conference saying they weren't ruling out the possibility of a homicide in the child's disappearance.

"I checked my basement," Bothuell said after recovering enough to speak. "The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement. I've been down there several times. We've all been checking.

"To imply that I knew my son was in the basement is absurd," he added later. "I thought my son was dead," he said breaking down in tears.

The youngster was reported missing on June 14, after he left home at night.

Bothuell said Charlie had run away from home one time before, two years ago, but was found after a few hours.

Craig said detectives had searched the basement four times since the child went missing and also once used a police dog.

"We're not certain Charlie was here during those visits," Craig said.

Some members of the family suggested the child might have used a corridor connecting different basements to exit and enter the premises.