ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando restaurant manager who used a note to rescue a boy from allegedly abusive parents will receive an award on Thursday.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will present Flavaine Carvalho with a Florida Cabinet Proclamation. A special ceremony will be held at Mrs. Potato restaurant on Kirkman Road.
On New Year's Day, Carvalho was working at the restaurant 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.
That's when she said she 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."
Carvalho said she thought to herself that she needed to do something.
"I could not see the boy going away without any help."
Carvalho, who has an 18-year-old daughter herself, used a handwritten sign to get the boy's attention.
She said she wrote, "Do you need help? Ok" and stood behind his parents where they couldn't see. After several attempts, Carvalho said that he signaled yes. Police were immediately called.
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 mother, 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.
The boy was taken to get medical attention -- that's when horrific injuries and details were discovered.
"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."
Not only was the boy underweight for his age, but police described what he endured as torture.
"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."
Police said the boy 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 Det. Erin Lawler became emotional.
"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 4-year-old child was also removed from the home. Both children are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.