Police say a waitress in Orlando, Florida, saved a victim of child abuse after she noticed bruising on a boy’s face and arms and took action. Flavaine Carvalho spoke during a police press conference on Thursday, January 14, and said she was working at Mrs. Potato Restaurant on South Kirkman Road in Orlando during her day off on New Year’s Day when the incident occurred.
According to a post by the Orlando Police Department, Carvalho said she saw a “family withholding￼ food from an 11-year-old boy” in the restaurant. She said she saw “bruises on his body” and made a sign asking “Do you need help?” She secretly showed the sign to the boy from where his family members couldn’t see and said he nodded. At that point, Carvalho called the authorities, police said.
The boy’s stepfather and mother were arrested by the Orlando Police Department, the Facebook post stated.
Carvalho Said She Spoke to the Family & Asked Why the Boy Wasn’t Eating & Noticed a Cut Between His Eyebrows
Carvalho first noticed the family when she said one of her tables all got food except for the young boy. She said she asked the table if there was something wrong and the boy’s stepfather, identified during a police press conference as Timothy Wilson II, said the boy would be eating at home afterward. Carvalho then said she noticed bruising on the 11-year-old’s face and arms.
“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Carvalho shared during the press conference. She said he appeared really quiet and sad. “Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.” She said she felt like she had to take action: “I could not see the boy going away without any help,” Carvalho reported.
She said once the boy signaled yes to her handwritten sign, she called 911 immediately. Orlando police released audio of the 911 call to Fox35 and Carvalho can be heard asking the operator, “I’m super concerned and I don’t know what to do, can you give me some advice? What I can do? The boy is with bruises and he’s not eating. The others are eating.”
Police Discovered That the Boy’s Abuse Was Extensive & Charged the Stepfather & Mother
The boy’s stepfather, Wilson, was arrested and charged with one count of third-degree child abuse. He was again arrested and charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect, Detective Erin Lawler with the Orlando Police Department’s Special Victims Unit reported during a press conference. The child’s mother, identified as Kristen Swann, told investigators she knew about the abuse but did not seek medical assistance, Lawler said. She was also arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect.
Police described during a press conference that the boy suffered horrific abuse. The boy, who was underweight, told officers “ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door,” Lawler reported from the press conference. “He said he was hit with a wooden broom, and handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly. He also said he didn’t get to eat on a regular basis as punishment.”
Lawler became emotional as she described what had happened. She said, “If Ms. Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us, much longer.” The 11-year-old boy and the couple’s 4-year-old child were removed from the home and placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.