The boy’s mother Kristen Swann and stepfather Tim Wilson were both charged.
An eagle-eyed waitress has been hailed a hero when she discreetly saved a boy who was being tortured by his parents after she noticed some strange behaviour while the family was dining out.
On New Year’s Day, Orlando waitress Flaviane Carvalho was working at Mrs Potato Head when she noticed the 11-year-old boy’s parents withholding food and banning him from eating.
When she asked if something was wrong with the food, the stepfather, Timothy Wilson, told her the boy was going to eat dinner at home later.
That’s when she also noticed bruises on the boy’s face and arms.
“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Carvalho said.
“Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”
Alarmed at what she saw, she managed to secretly signal help for the boy.
On a piece of paper, she wrote “Do you need help? OK” and held it up for the boy to read, while standing behind his mother Kristen Swann and stepfather so they wouldn’t see her.
After receiving a signal from the boy that he needed help, she phoned emergency services which swiftly showed up to the restaurant.
The waitress’ instincts were right. Her call uncovered a range of horrific torture methods used against the boy.
Police interviewed the boy where he revealed he had been tied up and starved.
An Orlando PD spokesman explained: “He said ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door.
“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.”
Wilson was subsequently charged with child abuse. Swann was charged with neglect, over claims she knew about Wilson’s abuse, but never sought to stop it or get medical care for her son.
Orlando Police hailed waitress Carvalho for saving the boy from his alleged abusers.
A spokesman told Fox35: “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.”
The owner of Mrs Potato Head praised her employee for her quick-thinking – and for saving the boy’s life.
“We are extremely proud. This has to encourage people that if you see something, say something.”