ORLANDO, Fla. (WKMG) -- An observant manager at an Orlando restaurant helped rescue a boy who police say was the victim of severe child abuse by secretly holding a note that only the child could read.
Orlando Police said Flavaine Carvalho was working on New Year's Day at Mrs. Potato Restaurant on South Kirkman Road when a family of four sat down at a table.
According to police, the man did not allow the 11-year-old boy to order any food, and Carvalho noticed the child had bruises on his face and arms. Carvalho wrote a note that said, “Do you need help? OK” and held it up to the boy while standing behind the man so he couldn't see it, police said. “I wrote another sign, asking him if he needs help. And this is when he nodded, yes,” Carvalho said. Carvalho then called police.
The boy told Orlando Police detectives about incidents of mistreatment, saying he had ratchet straps tied around his ankles and neck and was hung upside down from a door, officials said. According to police, the boy also said he had been struck with a wooden broom and handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly. The boy also said he didn't get to eat on a regular basis as a form of punishment, according to police.
The child's stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, was arrested on one count of third-degree child abuse. Investigators said they were unable to arrest both parents at the restaurant because, at the time, there wasn't enough evidence. Days later, authorities arrested both Wilson and Kristen Swann. Wilson was arrested on multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. Police said the boy's mother admitted to knowing about the abuse. Swann was arrested on two counts of child neglect.