From the looks of things, Charlie Bothuell IV got ambushed on HLN by none other than Nancy Grace. Bothuell is the father of Charlie Bothuell V, the 12-year-old boy who went missing on June 14 from his Detroit home. After recapping the status of the boy, Grace kicked off a captivating back-and-forth, such that no HLN viewer who’d tuned in could possibly have tuned out:

Nancy Grace: With me is his father, Charlie Bothuell. Charlie, we’re getting reports that your son has been found IN YOUR BASEMENT.

Charlie Bothuell: [No words, stunned facial reaction]

Nancy Grace: Sir?

Charlie Bothuell: [Heavy breathing]

Nancy Grace: Mr. Bothuell, are you?

Charlie Bothuell: What?

Nancy Grace: Yeah, we are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement.

From that point onward, the interview lost little steam. The father noted that the FBI and the Detroit police had searched the basement and came up empty. He broke into heavy breathing. He put his hand on his chest. He slumped down in his seat. He provided more detail about his basement.

Grace brought in CBS Detroit reporter Charlie Langton (WWJ-TV), who confirmed the breaking news, much to the father’s on-air delight.

This captivating stretch of television appears to have come at the expense of Charlie Bothuell IV. Not so, an HLN insider tells the Erik Wemple Blog. Charlie Bothuell IV came in for his interview yesterday afternoon, a pre-taping session hours in advance of the 8 p.m. start of Grace’s show. They pre-taped the segment and later asked the father if he was OK with HLN showing what had gone down. “He said absolutely — keep it in. I’m so grateful to you all. You helped give it national attention.”

Added the HLNer: “We never would have aired something like that without the person’s go-ahead.”

HLN did indeed establish its bona fides on the Bothuell case, earlier airing a segment on the father’s frantic search for his child. The segment showcased photos of Charlie junior and an interview with the father. Disappearances are a routine part of Grace’s work.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.