The Florida restaurant manager who authorities say saved an 11-year-old boy from an abusive home with a secret note said “I did what I had to do – he is the hero.”
Flaviane Carvalho, 45, has been widely praised for her actions on New Year’s Day when a family of four — two adults and a young boy and girl — walked into the Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando, Fla., just before closing. As they began dining, she noticed the boy didn’t order any food.
“They looked like a regular family but there were four people and I noticed they were missing a meal,” she told the Daily Mail.
Carvalho did not return multiple calls and emails from Fox News
When she noticed bruises and scratches on the child, she calmly handed him a handwritten note out of view from the parents asking if he was doing OK.
The child nodded yes but didn’t convince her. A few minutes later, Carvalho wrote another sign that read: “Do you need help? OK” and handed it to him. The child signaled he did.
Carvalho went to the back of the restaurant and called 911 and begged the police to respond quickly.
Once officers arrived, the boy told them he had fallen from a motel bed where his family had been living since moving to the area from Georgia, according to the Daily Mail. He then said he had been wrestling with his stepfather before detailing the alleged abuse he endured.
He said his stepfather, Timothy Wilson, beat him with a broom and hit him when he would do something wrong. Police said the child was forced to perform exercises such as planks as a form of punishment.
‘”t should be noted [he] was in pain just by simply rolling up his jacket sleeves to show his injury … [he] complained of chest pain and was hunched over while on scene,” a police report obtained by the news outlet read.
The boy also said he was hung upside down from a door frame and strapped to a dolly. He weighed only 60 pounds. There was no evidence of abuse on the young girl. Authorities suspect the boy was targeted by the stepfather because he is not his biological child.
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“I would like to give the boy a big hug, hold him tight and tell him that I’m so proud of him. He was so brave,” Carvalho said. “The little boy was so brave. He not only saved himself, he saved his little sister by standing up to this man. I am so proud of him. He is the hero.”
Wilson is charged with several counts of child abuse. The boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, is charged with child neglect for failing to protect the child, police said.
“She is as bad as the man, they are both monsters,” Carvalho said. “I just feel like I did what I was supposed to do. I just did what my heart screamed at me to do.”