ORLANDO, Florida. – Flaviane Carvalho is hailed a hero after coming to the aid of an 11-year-old boy who Orlando police say was being abused at home.
At a press conference on Thursday, Carvalho said the boy walked into the restaurant on New Year’s Day with his parents and little sister. She said the boy was shy and wore a long-sleeved hoodie and glasses, but she noticed something was wrong.
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“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows and a few minutes later I saw a bruise on the side of his eye,” she recalled. “He could see me, but not the parents. I wrote a sign asking him if he was okay. And he nodded, no…a few minutes later I wrote another sign asking him if he needed any help. And that’s when he nodded yes,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho said, who is the manager of the Mrs Potato restaurant on South Kirkman Road, immediately called her boss and asked if she should call the police, which she did.
Another sign that alerted her that something was wrong was that the boy hadn’t ordered food.
“I observed that everyone received the food but not the child. I’m also a mother and it was very strange for me because you don’t deny a child food,” she said.
That night, officers responded and arrested 34-year-old Timothy Wilson II, who denied allegations of hitting the child.
An Orlando police detective said when officers arrived and checked the bruises on the child’s arms, he was still in pain. The police report said the boy had been beaten with a broomstick with his fists clenched and was unable to eat regularly as punishment.
“The child had revealed on Christmas Day, which was the furthest he could document, Santa for the parents, Santa suggested he be punished,” Detective Erin Lawler said. “He was handcuffed to a furniture cart with his hands behind his back. He had ratchet straps around his ankles. Regarding the incident with the hanging, he was unable to do a handstand and was tied by his ankles to the door and hung there with the ratchet straps.
Authorities said if Carvalho had not been there that night, the boy’s story would have ultimately turned into a homicide case.
“We are 100% confident that this saved a child’s life and potentially future abuse of her sister,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said. “The torture that this child suffered, which we discovered during the investigation process, was and in the opinion of the lead investigator, that this child was destined to be killed. That’s how serious the injuries were.
Detectives interviewed Kristen Swann, the boy’s mother, who admitted knowing about the abuse and not taking her son for treatment for his injuries. She was arrested on January 6 and charged with child neglect.
The two suspects bonded from prison. Wilson posted $31,000 bond on January 25 and Swann posted $7,650 bond on January 18.
“If Miss Carvalho hadn’t said something when she saw him, that little boy probably wouldn’t be with us much longer,” Lawler said. “Abuse I say lightly. It was torture to be quite honest that this child had received from the hands of his stepfather.
The restaurant owner compared this case to that of Gabriel Fernández in 2013. Fernández’s mother, 8, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and her boyfriend sentenced to execution.
“We truly believe it was a holy disposition, and we are so blessed that we were able to help this child. She was not on time that day,” said restaurant owner Rafaela Cabede. “It’s got to encourage others when you see something, say something. We know that when we’re faced with a situation, we see what’s wrong, we know what’s the right thing to do, we know talking is the right thing to do, but it takes more than recognizing — it takes bravery. And that’s what she definitely had.
Police say a trust account has been set up to support the children involved in the abuse case.
Anyone interested in making a donation can do so at:
Cole, Scott and Kissane, PA Trust Account
c/o Northern Trust Company
600 Brickell Ave, Suite 2400
Miami, Florida 33131
Attention: Michael Villasana
For the benefit of the minor children of Wilson/Swann
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