ORLANDO, Fla. – Flaviane Carvalho is being hailed a hero after coming to the rescue of an 11-year-old boy who, according to Orlando police, was being abused at home.
During a news conference Thursday, Carvalho said the boy had gone into the restaurant on New Year’s Day with his parents and little sister. She said the boy was shy and wearing a long-sleeved hoodie and glasses, but she noticed something wasn’t right.
“I could see that he had a big scratch between his eyebrows and couple minutes later I saw some bruise on the side of his eye,” she recalled. “He could see me, but the parents don’t. I wrote a sign asking him if he was OK. And he nodded, No...couple minutes later I wrote another sign asking him if he needs help. And this is when he nodded yes,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho said, who’s the manager at Mrs. Potato restaurant on South Kirkman Road immediately called her boss and asked if she should call police, which she did.
Another sign that alerted her something was amiss was that the boy didn’t order any food.
“I observed that everyone received the food but not the kid. I’m a mother also and this was very strange to me because you don’t deny food for a kid,” she said.
That night officers responded and arrested 34-year-old Timothy Wilson II, who denied claims 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 indicated the boy was beaten with a broom stick, closed fists and that he didn’t get to eat on a regular basis as punishment.
“The child had disclosed on Christmas Day, which was the furthest back he could document, Santa for the parents, Santa had suggested that he be punished,” detective Erin Lawler said. “He was handcuffed to a furniture dolly with his hands behind his back. He had ratchet straps around his ankles. As far as the incident with the hanging, he was unable to do a handstand and was tied up by his ankles to the door and was hung there with the ratchet straps.”
Authorities said if Carvalho had not been there that night, the boy’s story eventually would have turned into a homicide case.
“We are 100% convinced that it saved the life of a child and potentially a future abuse of his sister,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said. “The torture that that child was put through that we found through the investigative process, it was and in the opinion of the lead investigator, that that child was destined to be killed. That’s how severe the injuries were.”
Detectives interviewed Kristen Swann, the boy’s mother, who admitted to knowing about the abuse and not taking her son to be treated for his injuries. She was arrested on Jan. 6 and on a child neglect charge.
Both suspects have bonded out of jail. Wilson posted $31,000 bail on Jan. 25 and Swann posted bail of $7,650 on Jan. 18.
“If Miss Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us much longer,” Lawler said. “Abuse I say lightly. It was torture to be completely honest that this child had received at the hands of his stepfather.”
The owner of the restaurant compared this case to that of Gabriel Fernández in 2013. The mother of 8-year-old Fernández was sentenced to life in prison without parole and her boyfriend sentenced to be executed.
“We truly believe that this was Holy provision, and we are very blessed that we were able to help this child. She was not on schedule that day,” Rafaela Cabede, the owner of the restaurant said. “This has to encourage other people when you see something, say something. We know that when we face a situation, we see is wrong we know what’s the right thing to do, we know that speaking up is the right thing to do but it takes more than acknowledging -- it takes courage. And this is what she definitely had.”
Police said a trust account has been created in support of the children involved in this abuse case.
Anyone who is interested in donating can do so at:
Cole, Scott and Kissane, P.A. Trust Account
c/o The Northern Trust Company
600 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2400
Miami, Florida 33131
Attn: Michael Villasana
For the benefit of the minor children of Wilson/Swann