A server in an Orlando restaurant freed an 11-year-old boy from his abusive parents in early January by flashing clandestine messages to him, local police announced Thursday. Flaviane Carvalho told the Orlando Sentinel that she could see bruises all over the child’s face despite a mask, glasses, and a hoodie. His parents hadn’t ordered him any food. She wrote on a piece of paper, “ARE YOU OK?” and turned the question at him. He nodded, and then she wrote, “DO YOU NEED HELP?” He nodded again, and Carvalho called the police to Mrs. Potato Restaurant late in the night of Jan. 1.
Though the boy said his injuries were accidents, doctors at a nearby hospital soon discovered that even rolling up his sleeves caused him pain and that he was 20 pounds underweight. His parents had withheld food from him, handcuffed him to furniture, and forced him to exercise as punishment, police said. He told police his stepfather had tied him upside down by the ankles to a door. The man also beat him with a broom, a back scratcher, and his own fists, according to the boy. An Orlando detective said, “‘Abuse,’ I say lightly. It was torture.” Another said he was “destined to be killed.” The stepfather, Timothy Wilson II was charged with child abuse and neglect, and the mother, Kristen Swann, was charged with child neglect.