Florida waitress helps rescue abused boy after noticing his parents didn’t order him food, police say

See something, say something

‘Do you need help?’ Orlando restaurant manager uses secret sign to help rescue abused boy, police say

ORLANDO, Fla. – An 11-year-old boy in Florida is now safe thanks to a waitress in Orlando.

Following the old adage of “see something, say something” Flavaine Carvalho did just that while she was waiting tables on Jan. 1 and noticed that something didn’t seem right with a boy and his family.

In an interview with the Orlando Police Department that was posted on the department’s Facebook page, Carvalho explained that the family had come in and ordered food, but that the boy wasn’t given any.

“I asked them if something was wrong with the order because the food for the boy was missing,” Carvalho told police.

Carvalho said the man at the table said the boy would be eating at home that night and that everything was fine.

“It was super strange to me,” Carvalho said.

After the exchange Carvalho told police she noticed a large scratch on the boy’s forehead and that’s when she made a sign that read “are you ok?”

She said the boy responded by nodding his head yes, “but he didn’t convince me.”

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING: We talked with an Orlando Restaurant Manager who saw a family withholding food from a boy...

Posted by Orlando Police Department on Thursday, January 14, 2021

“A couple minutes later I wrote another sign asking him if he needs help. I showed him, and he nodded his head yes,” Carvalho said.

Orlando Police Department posted a photo to Facebook Thursday with the photo of a note that Carvalho wrote.

Carvalho said she called 9-1-1 and police arrived shortly after.

An OPD officer who joined Carvalho in the interview video said police interviewed the parents and the child at the restaurant. During the interview with the boy “the child came forward with some statements” that led to the stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, being arrested on a charge of child abuse.

The boy was taken to the hospital from the restaurant where representatives with the Department of Children and families uncovered additional allegations of abuse.

WKMG in Orlando reported that the boy told police he didn’t get to eat on a regular basis as a form of punishment.

“The boy recounted incidents of mistreatment, saying he had ratchet straps tied around his ankles and neck and was hung upside down from a door,” a police detective told WKMG.

Police also told WKMG that the boy had been struck with a wooden broom, handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly.

Based on the additional abuse allegations, officers with the Special Victims Unit arrested the stepfather a second time on Jan. 5, according to a spokesperson for OPD. He was charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse and one count of child neglect.

The photo below from WKMG shows the mugshots of the two suspects arrested for allegations of child abuse.

‘Do you need help?’ Orlando server uses secret sign to help rescue abused boy, police say

“The child’s mother [Kristen Swann] was also arrested on two counts of child neglect for failure to act and failure to protect the 11-year-old child,” the spokesperson said.

Detective Erin Lawler told WKMG the boy “had all sorts of different stages of bruising so it wasn’t like it was just one incident.”

The OPD is urging anyone who suspects foul play or abuse to report it - see something, say something.

SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING: An Orlando restaurant manager saw a family withholding food from an 11-year-old boy at a...

Posted by Orlando Police Department on Thursday, January 14, 2021

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.