“‘Abuse,’ I say lightly, It was torture," OPD detective Erin Lawler said
By gathering courage and writing a four-word note, Flaviane Carvalho has become the sole reason a tortured 11-year-old boy has lived to see another day. Carvalho, a restaurant manager in Florida, was working as a server when she noticed a small child with too many bruises on his face and arms sitting at the table she waited on. She notices that the boy wasn't allowed to order any food and realizes that the child was potentially in danger. "Do you need help?" she wrote on a piece of paper and showed it to the boy when his parents weren't watching. It took three attempts, but eventually, the child signalled "yes," reports USAToday.
Carvalho recollects the heart-breaking moment in a video released by OPD where she says, "When I looked to the boy, I saw a big scratch between his eyebrow, I started observing them and I could (see) that he was super quiet and sad." Officers arrived a little before 11:30 p.m. and spoke to the child, who at first denied any abuse and said his injuries were an accident. The boy eventually told a police sergeant that his stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, frequently abused him by beating him up with "a wooden broom," a "back scratcher," and "closed fists." According to an affidavit for Wilson's arrest, the child had bruising "on his right arm starting from his shoulder all the way down to his wrist." Wilson was arrested that night on child abuse charges.
On January 6th, after more interviews with the child, Wilson was arrested for the second time on multiple charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. During the interview, the child spoke about some of the horrendous ways he was abused, which included not being given food on a regular basis as punishment and being tied to a large moving dolly. These were just some of the many terrible things he had been subjected to. "'Abuse,' I say lightly. It was torture," OPD detective Erin Lawler was quoted saying by the Orlando Sentinel.
The child's mother, Kristen Swann, 31, admitted to knowing about the abuse and failing to seek help for the boy. She was arrested by the police on child neglect charges. The Sentinel also reported that the boy's 4-year-old sister doesn't appear to have been abused but both the children have been removed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. "That child was destined to be killed," OPD Police Chief Orlando Rolón reportedly said, "That's how severe the injuries were. That's how horrific the recollection of the abuse the child shared with us was."