ORLANDO, Fla. - The stepfather of an 11-year-old boy who was rescued by an attentive Orlando restaurant manager using a note after noticing his bruises was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
In June, a six-person jury convicted Timothy Wilson, 36 on all 10 counts of false imprisonment, child abuse, and child neglect.
Judge Wayne C. Wooten called the abuse Wilson inflicted on the boy "grade A horrible."
"I don't ever remember any case of such prolonged, malicious, extensive and ongoing abuse as what was presented in this case," Wooten said.
The now-viral rescue happened at Mrs. Potato restaurant on New Year's Day in 2021 when Flaviane Carvalho, a waitress at the restaurant, observed the boy's parents did not order him anything to eat or drink and secluded him from the rest of the family. She also noticed bruises on the boy's face and arms.
She asked Wilson if there was something wrong with the food and he reportedly told her that the boy would eat at home.
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Carvalho then wrote "Do you need help?" on a piece of paper and showed it to the boy, while keeping it out of his parents' view. After a few attempts, the boy indicated that he needed help and the waitress contacted the police.
Through the investigation, authorities found that the boy was "tortured, maliciously punished, and deprived of food and water for days at a time," the State Attorney's Office said in a news release. He was kept in a storage room away from his mom and sibling, forced to do military-style exercises, hung upside down by his neck and feet from a door.
The boy's mom, Kristen Swann, was also arrested and charged with child neglect, aggravated child abuse, and failure to report child abuse. She'll be sentenced on Sept. 16.