Florida Restaurant Manager Uses Secret Notes To Save Boy From ‘Torture,’ Police Say
“That child was destined to be killed,” Orlando Police Department chief claims.
A Florida restaurant worker who noticed an 11-year-old boy’s injuries despite his glasses, mask and hoodie managed to rescue him from danger on New Year’s Day by secretly holding up a sign asking him if he needed help.
In a video released by the Orlando Police Department, Mrs. Potato Restaurant manager and server Flaviane Carvalho said she first felt something was amiss when the boy’s parents and 4-year-old sister got their food but he didn’t get anything. She then spotted a “really big scratch between his eyes.”
“I start observing them and I could [see] that he was super quiet and sad,” she explained.
Carvalho decided to take action and made a sign on a piece of paper asking the boy if he was okay and holding it up so his parents couldn’t see. The child nodded yes — but she wasn’t convinced.
Carvalho wrote another sign a few minutes later, this time asking if he needed help. The boy again nodded his head yes, so she went to the back of the restaurant and called 911.
According to OPD, responding officers began an investigation and the boy’s stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, 34, was arrested on a child abuse charge and transported to Orange County Jail.
The little boy was taken to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, where he at first said his injuries, which included bruising to his eyelids, earlobes, face and arms, were the result of accidents and wrestling with his stepfather, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
After further investigation and more interviews with the alleged victim, OPD noted, the father was rearrested on January 5 on three counts of aggravated child abuse and one count of child neglect, and the boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, 31, was also arrested on two counts of child neglect for failure to protect her son.
According to USA Today, Wilson’s arrest affidavit shows the boy allegedly said his stepfather beat him “with a wooden broom,” a “back scratcher” and “closed fists.”
The affidavit claims the boy had bruises “on his right arm starting from his shoulder all the way down to his wrist.”
Police alleged the child, who was reportedly 20 pounds underweight, said he didn’t eat “on a regular basis” and that he had been “handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly.”
OPD detective Erin Lawler alleged the boy’s parents punished him with excessive exercise, such as forcing him to hold a plank position for 30 minutes or hanging him upside down by the ankles with straps when he couldn’t properly perform a handstand, according to the Sentinel.
“It was torture,” Lawler said of the alleged abuse.
“That child was destined to be killed,” OPD Chief Orlando Rolón said, explaining, “That’s how severe the injuries were. That’s how horrific the recollection of the abuse the child shared with us was.”
The Florida Department of Children and Families have removed both the boy and his younger sister — who Lawler said doesn’t appear to have suffered abuse — from the home.