An Orange County, Florida, jury found a stepfather guilty of child abuse charges, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Monique H. Worrell announced Monday.
Thirty-six-year-old Timothy Lee Wilson awaits sentencing for false imprisonment 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, according to Worrel, WESH-TV reported.
Wilson will receive his sentence on Aug. 19.
Authorities were able to find the crimes this abusive stepfather committed against his stepson thanks to the efforts of Orlando restaurant waitress Flaviane Carvalho.
On New Year’s Day, 2021, Carvalho welcomed the family of four to the restaurant and was taking orders when she noticed that Wilson would not permit his stepson to order anything to eat or drink, according to a January 2, 2021 arrest affidavit Orlando Police Officer Brett Brubaker filed.
Then, after bringing the food to the table, Carvalho noticed that the boy was not eating, the waitress said at a 2021 news conference.
“This kept my attention and I went to the table to ask if was something wrong with the food, with the water,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho said the man told her the boy would dine at home later. To the waitress, this appeared strange.
She began to notice bruises on the boy’s hands. “I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Carvalho said at the news conference. “Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”
The waitress stood behind the boy’s parents so they could not see what she was doing and flashed a “Do you need help?” note to the child. Once the boy nodded yes, she called the police.
When police responded to the scene, officer Brubaker requested permission from Wilson to speak with the boy privately. After receiving consent from the boy’s stepfather, Brubaker took the child outside the restaurant and began to examine his injuries.
“I immediately noticed bruising to the side of his face and what appeared to be a healing wound on the bridge of his nose,” Brubaker wrote in the arrest affidavit. When Brubaker asked the child how he got the injuries, he said he had fallen off his bed and hit the table next to it.
The officer then noticed more injuries extending from his right arm to his wrist. When Brubaker questioned the boy about those bruises, he said he got them from “wrestling with his dad Timothy Wilson,” the arrest affidavit stated.
Wilson later revealed that he would beat the boy with a broom, back-scratcher and closed fists and make him do exercises such as “planks,” Brubaker wrote in the arrest affidavit. Officers charged Wilson with child abuse and took the boy to the hospital. Over the course of the investigation that followed, more charges were filed against Wilson.
Hospital staff found that the boy had bruises all over his body and was underweight, WESH-TV reported. The police document said the boy weighed about 60 pounds.
When investigators spoke to the boy and carried out a search of the home, they found out that Wilson had isolated and starved the boy, handcuffed him to a dolly cart on Christmas Day, and hung him upside down from a door. Police referred to the treatment the boy had experienced as more “torture” than abuse.
Officers also found and seized from the home objects including a bent metal pole, a wooden broom, a dolly cart, handcuffs and ratchet straps used to tie the boy up, according to WESH-TV.
Wilson was subsequently arrested. The boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, was also arrested after admitting that she knew about the abuse at home and failed to get adequate medical care for her abused son. She was hit with two counts of child neglect.
“I was used like a tool from God to help him,” Carvalho said, according to WESH-TV. “We need to pay attention for the ones that are in need, and step forward to do something to change the situation.”
“We probably would’ve been talking about a potential homicide investigation if she had not intervened when she did,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said.
Officers believe that if Carvalho had not taken action that day, the boy “probably could have died,” WESH-TV reported.
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