Orlando restaurant: Stepfather convicted of child abuse after employee rescued boy with note asking if he needed help

A jury found Timothy Lee Wilson, 36, guilty of two counts of forcible confinement of a child under 13, three counts of aggravated child abuse with a weapon, four counts of aggravated child abuse with a child and one count of child neglect, a press release from the state’s attorney’s office said.

An investigation revealed that the boy was kept apart from his family in a hotel room used as a warehouse, was regularly deprived of food and drink and was subjected to military-style drills and other abuses, according to the press release. Officers recovered several items used as weapons against the child, the statement added.

The 11-year-old boy and his family were at Mrs. Potato in Orlando on Jan. 1, 2021, when employee Flaviane Carvalho noticed he was sitting isolated from his parents and brother, deprived of food and drink, and bruised and scratched, a reported CNN previously.

Carvalho stood behind the boy’s parents and held up a note asking the boy if he was okay. When the child nodded, she wrote a second note that asked, “Do you need any help,” she explained at a press conference.

After the boy nodded, Carvalho called his boss and then called 911.

After police arrived and questioned the child, Wilson was arrested at the restaurant and the boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, was taken into custody days later, Orlando investigators said.

Swann faces multiple criminal abuse charges, including child neglect, aggravated abuse and failure to report child abuse, county clerk’s office show records ‘Orange. She pleaded not guilty. CNN is reaching out to Swann’s attorney for comment.

Wilson will be sentenced on August 19, 2022. Leslie Sweet, an attorney for Wilson, said he “maintains his innocence” in the case.

What the police found after the parents were arrested

When Swann and Wilson were arrested, another 4-year-old child was removed from the home and found to have suffered no abuse, 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 boy is Swann and Wilson’s child.

After Carvalho called 911, the boy was taken to hospital where he was found to be 20 pounds underweight for his age, according to Lawler, who added that the boy also had bruises in various stages of healing all over his body.

Investigators later discovered that the boy had been “tortured” and “maliciously punished”, the statement from the prosecutor’s office said. Prosecutors said the boy was hung upside down from a doorway by his neck and feet and, on one occasion, handcuffed to a trolley.

“What this kid went through was torture,” Lawler said. “I’m a mother and seeing what this 11 year old must have been through… It shocks your soul.”

“If Ms. Carvalho hadn’t said something when she saw him, this little boy probably wouldn’t be with us much longer,” she added.

“I was used as a tool by God to help him,” Carvalho told CNN affiliate WESH. “We have to pay attention to those who (are) in need and step forward to do something to change the situation.”

CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.


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