Friday, 15 January 2021

'Do you need help?' Hero waitress saves 11-year-old boy from his 'abusive' parents by passing him a note during meal

 A Florida waitress has been hailed as a hero for saving an abused 11-year-old boy from his parents by passing him a note asking 'do you need help?'  

Police said that the actions of Flavaine Carvalho helped the child escape a possibly life-threatening situation when she passed him the note at the Mrs Potato Restaurant in Orlando  on January 1. 

Carvalho said during a press conference that when the family sat at a table, she noticed that everyone received food except for the boy, which struck her as odd, according to WOFL-TV.

The boy's stepfather Timothy Wilson told her that the boy would eat dinner at home, Carvalho said, before she noticed that the boy had bruises over his face and arms. 

'I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,' Carvalho said. 'A couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.'

In reality, Wilson and the boy's mother Kristen Swann were abusing him at home including by tying him up with ratchet straps, beating him and hanging him upside down. 

Carvalho secretly wrote the note reading 'do you need help? OK' and stood behind the boy's parents so they could not see her.

The child initially declined help by shaking his head, before signalling 'yes' after Carvalho's second attempt, prompting her to call 911. 

Hero waitress explains how she saved boy from child abuse
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Florida waitress Flavaine Carvalho who saved an 11-year-old boy from his allegedly abusive parents by passing him a note asking 'do you need help?' (pictured) has been hailed as a hero

Florida waitress Flavaine Carvalho who saved an 11-year-old boy from his allegedly abusive parents by passing him a note asking 'do you need help?' (pictured) has been hailed as a hero

Carvalho showed this note to the boy behind the backs of his parents on New Year's Day

Carvalho showed this note to the boy behind the backs of his parents on New Year's Day  

The boy's stepfather Timothy Wilson II (left), 34, was first arrested on one count of third-degree child abuse. The boy's mother Kristen Swann (right), 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect

The boy's stepfather Timothy Wilson II (left), 34, was first arrested on one count of third-degree child abuse. The boy's mother Kristen Swann (right), 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect

In audio released by police from her phone call, Carvalho says: 'I'm super concerned and I don't know what to do, can you give me some advice? What I can do?

'The boy is with bruises and he's not eating. The others are eating.' 

When officers arrived on the scene, they interviewed the parents and the child, who was said to have winced in pain when asked to roll up the sleeves of his sweatshirt, revealing bruises on his arms.  

Eventually, the boy's stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, 34, was first arrested on one count of third-degree child abuse. 

Wilson was later arrested for a second time on January 6 and charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect for his conduct involving his stepson, which investigators have likened to torture. 

The victim's mother, Kristen Swann, 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect for allegedly being aware of the abuse and failing to seek medical help for her son. 


The incident took place at the Mrs Potato Restaurant on Orlando, Florida, on January 1

The incident took place at the Mrs Potato Restaurant on Orlando, Florida, on January 1

Carvalho (left) said when the family sat at a table, she noticed that everyone received food except for the boy, which struck her as odd

Carvalho (left) said when the family sat at a table, she noticed that everyone received food except for the boy, which struck her as odd

Waitress calls 911 after she notices parents not feeding child
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After police arrived, the boy was taken to the hospital and doctors discovered that he was 20lb underweight and had extensive bruising covering most of his body.

Police said the boy's parents subjected him to various forms of abuse, including forcing him to do 30-minute planks and beating him if he failed.

At a press conference, a police spokesperson said: 'What this child had gone through, it was torture.

'Seeing what that 11-year-old had to go through, it shocks your soul.' 

The boy told police that ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door on one occasion. 

He said he was hit with a wooden broom and handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly. He also said he didn’t get to eat on a regular basis as punishment. 

The boy has been taken into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, along with his four-year-old sister who appeared unharmed. 

Police said if it were not for Carvalho's (second right) actions, the badly abused boy could have ended up dead

Police said if it were not for Carvalho's (second right) actions, the badly abused boy could have ended up dead  

'If Ms. Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us, much longer,' said Special Victims Unit Detective Erin Lawler.

Rafaela Cabede, the owner of Mrs Potato Restaurant, credited a higher power for having Carvalho there that night to deliver the boy from harm.

She explained to WFTV9 that Carvalho was not scheduled to be working on New Year's Day and was only there because another employee took the night off.

They family were seated at the only table in the restaurant where Carvalho would have been able to hold the sign up to the boy without his parents' seeing her.

Cabede has launched a GoFundMe campaign to reward her employee, writing in the description: 'the outcome of this story was only possible because of her act of kindness, compassion and how fearlessly she stood up for this child.

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