A Florida man was found guilty Wednesday in connection with his stepson, who was rescued at a restaurant last year.
According to Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Monique H. Worrell, an Orange County jury found Timothy Lee Wilson guilty of false imprisonment of a child under 13, aggravated child abuse with a weapon, aggravated child abuse, and child neglect.
NBC News reports that Wilson had pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, a restaurant server with quick-thinking skills helped rescue the victim on New Year’s Day 2021 at a Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando. Wilson and an 11-year-old boy sat down at a table in the restaurant when server Flavaine Carvalho noticed bruises on the child’s face.
Carvalho told police that the child had on a hoodie, a face mask, and glasses, but she could see bruising on one of his temples and a scratch between his eyebrows.
Carvalho said that Wilson wouldn’t allow the child to place an order. Sensing the child may be in danger, Cavalho wrote, “Do you need help?” on a piece of paper and held it up for the boy to see, while standing behind Wilson.
The child eventually gave a signal that he needed help. Carvalho promptly told the restaurant owner, who contacted the police.
Investigators interviewed the boy, who provided gruesome details of ongoing child abuse. The boy reportedly said that he was strapped upside down to a door with ratchet straps on his ankles and neck. He added that was tied to a moving dolly, hit with a wooden spoon, beaten by Wilson’s fists, and hit with a backscratcher.
The boy also said he didn’t get to eat routinely. Police stated that he was around 20 pounds underweight.
Investigators said the child drew back in pain when they asked him to roll up his shirt sleeves. Bruises covered nearly most of his body.
“This could have been a homicide situation if she had not intervened,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said earlier this year.
Investigators interviewed the boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, who said that she knew her child was being abused but didn’t intervene. She was arrested and charged with child neglect.
Authorities said another child, a 4-year-old, lived with the suspects, along with the 11-year-old. Both children have been removed from the suspects’ care and placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. There was no evidence that the suspects abused the youngest child.
The defendants were staying in an extended stay hotel, according to police. They had just recently moved to the area.
Meanwhile, authorities are praising the server for possibly saving the boy’s life.
“When one woman took that advice to heart, she rescued a boy from some dangerous abuse,” Orlando Police Department said in a news release.
“By saying something when she saw something, Ms. Carvalho displayed courage and care for a child she had never even met before, and we’re proud someone like Ms. Carvalho lives and works in our community.”
Wilson is scheduled for sentencing on August 19.
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[Featured Photo: Sign/Orlando PD; Timothy Wilson/Orlando County Corrections]