A Florida stepfather has been convicted of child abuse after a restaurant worker noticed signs last year and used a covert note to ask a boy if he needed help, the Orange County State Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
A jury found Timothy Lee Wilson, 36, guilty of two counts of false incarceration 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, an office press release said. of the state attorney.
An investigation found that the boy was kept away from his family in a hotel room used for storage, was regularly robbed of food and drink, and subjected to military exercises and other abuse, according to the release. Officers found multiple items used as weapons against the child, the release said.
The 11-year-old boy and his family were at the Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando, when employee Flaviane Carvalho found himself secluded from his parents and sibling, was robbed of food and drink, and was bruised and scratched, DailyExpertNews previously reported.
Carvalho stood behind the boy’s parents and held up a note asking if he was okay. When the child nodded no, she wrote a second note asking, “Do you need help,” she explained at a news conference.
After the boy nodded yes, Carvalho called her boss and then called 911.
After police arrived and questioned the child, Wilson was arrested at the restaurant and days later the boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, was taken into custody, Orlando investigators said.
Swann faces multiple assault charges, including child neglect, serious abuse and failure to report child abuse, data from the Orange County Clerk’s Office shows. She has pleaded not guilty. DailyExpertNews is contacting Swann’s attorney for comment.
Wilson will be sentenced on August 19, 2022. Leslie Sweet, a lawyer for Wilson, said he “maintains his innocence” in the case.
When Swann and Wilson were arrested, another 4-year-old child was removed from the home and found not to have been abused, according to Orlando Police Detective Erin Lawler at the time of the arrests. Lawler said the 11-year-old boy is Swann’s child and the 4-year-old is Swann and Wilson’s child.
After Carvalho called 911, the boy was taken to a hospital where he was found to be 20 pounds underweight for his age, according to Lawler, who added that the boy also had bruises at various stages of healing all over his body.
Investigators later found that the boy had been “tortured” and “malignantly punished,” according to the law firm’s release. Prosecutors said the boy was hanged upside down by his neck and feet from a door and was once handcuffed to a cart.
“What this kid had been through, it was torture,” Lawler said. “I’m a mom and see what that 11-year-old had to go through… It shocks your soul.”
“If Mrs Carvalho hadn’t said anything when she saw it, that little boy probably wouldn’t be with us much longer,” she added.
“I was used as an instrument of God to help him,” Carvalho told DailyExpertNews affiliate WESH. “We need to pay attention to those who are (in) need, and step forward to do something to change the situation.”