March 3-10, 1983: Charles had spent most of his life in and out of prison. At the time of the incident, he was divorced from David's mother. He asked to take his son on a trip. After several days he called and asked Marie if he could spend more time with David. Angrily, Marie told him that if they did not get back there he would never see David again. Later that day, they checked into the Buena Park motel, and as David slept (after giving him sleeping pills), he kissed him, poured kerosene all around the bed, lit a fire, and was seen speeding away in a white car. He later returned to watch as the flames engulfed the motel room. Motel guests dragged the boy to safety. A national alert was issued for Charles Rothenberg. Before his arrest Charles called the police to get an update on his son, but he refused to turn himself in. Charles, later confessed that he did it because he thought that his ex wife would never let him see his son again. The incident also took place one day after Charles was to turn himself in for the vandalism and burglary of a restaurant. He was finally arrested on March 10, 1988 outside of a YMCA.
March 24, 1983: David opens his eyes for the first time
April 8, 1983: Little David starts to speak again. He also starts to ask for his father. Up until that point, David had not been informed that it was his father who set him on fire. He held out his arms and said: "Mommy, I hurt myself."About 2 months later, his mother finally tells him. David was absolutely heart broken. He did not understand why his father would do that to him. His mother reassured him that his father did love him, but that he was very ill. David stated that he never wanted to see him again.
June 8th, 1983: David arrives in Boston sporting a baseball cap given to him by Reggie Jackson
June 10, 1983: David arrives at Boston's Shriner Burn Institute
June 19, 1983: David receives a birthday card from President Ronald Reagan
July 30, 1983: Charles David Rothenberg is sentenced to 13 years for setting his son on fire in a Buena Vista motel room. As the verdict was given the Judge James R Franks said: that’s not enough time for what you did because of a quirk in the law, 13 years is the maximum I can give you. But that is far too low, in my opinion, for what you did." Rothenberg, 43, cried as he asked for his son’s forgiveness. In a separate interview, Charles said that he "should have got more" than the 13 years in prison, and that he was willing to "go to the highest level in order to see" his son again. He also stated that he loved his son very much, and that he is not a sick person. Really Charles? If that is not sick tell us what is....David’s mother, Marie, had traveled from Boston to be in court that day.
October 1988: The movie "David" starring Bernadette Peters debuts
January 24, 1990: Charles Rothenberg is paroled after 6 1/2 years. He was quietly released and moved to a secret location a little past midnight in order to avoid the media. In October 1990, Charles violated parole and was sent back to prison for 8 months.
April 2005: He is sentenced to 8 months for weapons possession.
2007: He is re sentenced under the three strikes you're out to 25 years in prison for weapons charges (at age66)
His mother had a gut feeling that something was not right.
Charles was acting especially weird the day he picked up his son.
David now goes by the name Dave Dave and lives in Provo, Utah
He appeared on Larry King Live in 2009 speaking on the death of Michael Jackson, he said that Michael Jackson was like a father to him
At age 34 he is an aspiring singer
It is rumored that he and his mother are no longer on good terms