Life sentence for stepfather after Orlando restaurant manager used note to rescue boy from abuse

11-year-old’s stepfather, Timothy Lee Wilson, was convicted in June

The stepfather of an 11-year-old boy rescued by an Orlando restaurant manager who noticed the child had bruises was sentenced on Friday to life in prison.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The stepfather of an 11-year-old boy rescued by an Orlando restaurant manager who noticed the child had bruises was sentenced on Friday to life in prison.

Timothy Lee Wilson, 36, was convicted in June on false imprisonment, aggravated child abuse with a weapon, aggravated child abuse and child neglect charges.

The judge gave Wilson the maximum sentence on each count against him, which included multiple life sentences.

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The boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, is also facing abuse charges and had a plea and sentence hearing scheduled for Friday.

The judge accepted her plea but rescheduled her sentencing for Sept. 16 to give Swann time to wrap up her affairs before sentencing.

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.

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.

“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.

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 and Swann were arrested by authorities.

An observant woman at an Orlando restaurant helped rescue a boy who police say was the victim of severe child abuse, including being suspended upside down from a door, by secretly holding a sign that only the child could read.

“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.”

Wilson’s sentencing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.