Stepdad found guilty of child abuse after Florida waitress rescues boy with secret sign

Video: Quick-thinking Florida waitress credited with saving boy from abusive parents (Jan. 14, 2021)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man was found guilty of abusing his stepson following an incident that made national headlines, WESH reports.

Timothy Lee Wilson, 36, was arrested on multiple charges after his family visited Mr. Potato Restaurant in Orlando last year.

Flaviane Carvalho, a server at the restaurant, said she noticed bruises on his stepson’s face and arms when she waited on their table.

Timothy Wilson (Source: Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Carvalho said in a press conference, according to FOX 35. “Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”

She said the family ordered something to eat, but got nothing for the boy.

She wrote “do you need help?” on a note, then stood behind the boy’s parents and showed it to him. When the child nodded yes, she called police.

“I’m super concerned and I don’t know what to do, can you give me some advice?” Carvalho asked the dispatcher. “The boy is with bruises and he’s not eating.”

Investigators went to the family’s home and “recovered multiple items used as weapons—a bent metal pole, a wooden broom, a dolly cart, handcuffs, and ratchet straps used to tie the victim up,” a news release said, according to WESH.

The boy had been tortured and deprived of food, investigators said. He was made to do military-style exercises and was even hung upside down from a door and handcuffed to a dolly cart on Christmas Day.

“We probably would’ve been talking about a potential homicide investigation if she [Carvalho] had not intervened when she did,” Orlando Chief of Police Orlando Rolón said at the time.

The child’s mother, Kristen Swann, is admitted to knowing about the abuse and failing to seek medical care for the child. She was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect, according to WESH.

On Monday, prosecutors announced Wilson was found guilty of false imprisonment of a child under the age of 13, three counts of aggravated child abuse with a weapon, four counts of aggravated child abuse and one count of child neglect. He will be fulfilling on Aug. 19, the report said.

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