NOTE: This article contains details and descriptions that are graphic and disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
Not all heroes wear capes — some serve up fries in locally-known Mrs. Potato Head-themed restaurants.
During a lunch shift on New Year’s Day in 2021, Orlando, Fla., server Flaviane Carvalho knew immediately something wasn’t right with one of her tables at Mrs. Potato restaurant.
According to a news release from the Florida state attorney’s office, when a family of four was seated at Carvalho’s table around 11 a.m., she observed an 11-year-old boy who was “secluded” from the rest of his family.
As she attended to the table, Carvalho noticed the boy had bruises on his skin. During the meal, he was also deprived of food and beverages.
While standing secretly behind the stepfather at the table, the server held up a sign in the boy’s eyeline, asking “Do you need help? OK.”
The 11-year-old boy, seeing the sign, indicated to Carvalho that he did in fact need help.
Carvalho called 911. Days later, the boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, and stepfather, Timothy Lee Wilson, were put in custody.
On Monday, June 6, the 11-year-old’s stepfather was found guilty on two counts 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.
Orlando police claim their investigation revealed that the boy had been “tortured, maliciously punished, and deprived of food and water for days at a time.”
Police said the unnamed 11-year-old was kept in a separate hotel room from Wilson, the victim’s mother and his younger sibling. Duct tape covered the peep hole of the boy’s hotel room, allowing him no view outside.
The abuse detailed by police is graphic. They write the boy “routinely was deprived of food and beverages, was made to do military-style exercises, hung upside down from a door by his neck and feet, and at one point, handcuffed to a dolly cart on Christmas Day.”
There were multiple weapons allegedly used by Wilson in the family’s living quarters, including a bent metal pole, a wooden broom, a dolly cart, handcuffs and ratchet straps used to tie the victim up.
Carvalho was presented with a Florida Cabinet proclamation by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Jan. 28, 2021 was named Flaviane Carvalho Child Advocacy Day in Florida.
“Please, if you see something, especially against kids and old people, the most vulnerable — don’t be afraid to do something about it,” Carvalho said at the news conference.
Wilson’s sentencing is set for Aug. 19.