A heroic waitress's quick thinking saved an 11-yeah-old boy from the "torture" of his abusers when they all came into the restaurant she works in.
Flavaine Carvalho said she was working on her day off at Mrs Potato Restaurant in South Kirkman Road, Orlando, Florida, US, on New Year's Day when she noticed at one of her tables, everyone got food except an 11-year-old boy.
She said when she asked if something was wrong with the food, the stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, told her the boy was going to eat dinner at home later.
But alarm bells started ringing for Ms Carvalho when she noticed bruises on the boy's face and arms, Fox35 reports.
"I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows," Ms Carvalho said.
"Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong."
Ms Carvalho said she thought to herself that she needed to do something and used a handwritten note to get the boy's attention.
She wrote: "Do you need help? Ok" and stood behind his parents where they couldn't see. After several attempts, Ms Carvalho said that he signalled yes.
Police were called and the 911 call from the incident was released on Thursday, January 14, afternoon.
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In it, Ms 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."
Wilson was arrested on one count of third-degree child abuse. Wilson was arrested a second time on January 6 and charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect.
Detectives also interviewed the child's mum, Kristen Swann, who reportedly admitted to knowing about the abuse and failed to seek medical care for her son. She was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect.
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"What this child had gone through, it was torture," police said during a news conference. "Seeing what that 11-year-old had to go through, it shocks your soul.
"He said ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door."
They went on: "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."
Police said the boy had told them he was also forced to do planks for 30 minutes at a time. If he failed, he would be beaten.
During Thursday's news conference, even OPD Special Victims Unit Detective Erin Lawler said: "If Ms Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us, much longer."
The couple's four-year-old child was also removed from the home. Both children are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
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