Stepfather of boy rescued by Orlando restaurant server found guilty of abuse

Timothy Lee Wilson, 36, guilty on multiple aggravated child abuse charges

Support for an Orlando restaurant manager is pouring in from all over one day after she shared her story of how she helped rescue an abused boy.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The stepfather of a boy rescued by an Orlando restaurant server/manager who noticed the child had bruises was found guilty on multiple abuse charges, according to the state attorney’s office.

The Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office announced Monday that Timothy Lee Wilson, 36, was found guilty on false imprisonment, aggravated child abuse with a weapon, aggravated child abuse and child neglect charges.

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According to the Orlando Police Department, Flavaine Carvalho was working on New Year’s Day in 2021 at Mrs. Potato restaurant on South Kirkman Road when a family of four sat down at a table.

Police said Wilson did not let an 11-year-old boy order any food and Carvalho noticed bruises on the child’s 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 the owner of the restaurant, who agreed that she should call police.

Timothy Wilson (Orlando Police Department)

In an interview with Orlando police detectives, the boy recounted 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.

“You saved the boy’s life,” the business owner told Carvalho. “It brings us to tears to think that someone can do that to a child.”

Wilson, along with Kristen Swann, the boy’s mother, were arrested by authorities.

“She rescued a boy from some dangerous abuse,” Orlando police said in a news release after the arrest. “By saying something when she saw something, Ms. Carvalho displayed courage and care for a child she had never even met before, and we’re proud someone like Ms. Carvalho lives and works in our community.”

Police said the boy’s mother admitted to knowing about the abuse. She was arrested on two counts of child neglect.

“He had all sorts of different stages of bruising so it wasn’t like it was just one incident,” Detective Erin Lawler said. “It was ongoing abuse and torture.”

The state attorney’s office said Wilson will be sentenced on Aug. 19.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.