Orlando florida – A manager of a restaurant here noticed that a boy from a family of four sitting on New Years Day had bruises on his face and arms. Police said the man at the table did not let the boy order food.
Flavaine Carvalho decided to intervene.
She wrote a note that said, âDo you need help? Okay âand held it up so the boy could see it, but not his parents. He nodded no.
âA few minutes later I wrote another sign, asking if he needed any help. And that’s when he nodded, ‘yes’,â Carvalho said. at a press conference Thursday.
CBS Orlando Affiliate WKMG-TV Reports Carvalho then called restaurant owner Ms Potato, Rafaela Cabede, who agreed to Carvalho calling the police.
It turned out that the boy had been the victim of severe child abuse, authorities said.
âYou saved the boy’s life,â Cabede told Carvalho. “It makes us cry to think that someone can do this to a child.”
The 11-year-old told Orlando detectives he had ratchet straps strapped around his ankles and neck and was hung upside down from a doorway. He also said he was beaten with a wooden broom and handcuffed and tied to a large moving cart.
“Abuse, I say lightly: it was torture,” Detective Erin Lawler said. “What this child went through, as I said, was nothing but torture – there is, there is no justification for that in any area.”
The boy also said he did not eat regularly as a punishment, police said.
The child’s stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, has been arrested on one count of third-degree child abuse. Investigators said they did not arrest both parents at the restaurant because, at the time, there was not enough evidence.
A few days later, authorities arrested Wilson and Kristen Swann. Wilson was arrested on several counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect.
Police said the boy’s mother admitted to knowing about the abuse. She was arrested on two counts of child neglect.
“He had all kinds of bruises at different stages so it wasn’t like it was just an incident,” Lawler added. “It was continued abuse and torture.”
The Orlando Police Department said it regularly encourages people who see something to say something.
âWhen a woman took this advice to heart, she saved a boy from dangerous abuse,â OPD said in a press release. “By saying something when she saw something, Ms Carvalho showed courage and caring for a child she had never met before, and we are proud that someone like Ms Carvalho lives and works in our community. “
Another child was with the family on New Years Day, but officials said she showed no signs of abuse or malnutrition.
Investigators said the two children had been removed from the home and would be “very well and very happy at the moment.”
Police said a trust account had been set up to support children involved in the abuse case.