“You need help?” It was with this sentence, written on a sheet of paper, that Brazilian Flaviane Carvalho helped save an 11-year-old child tortured by her stepfather in the United States.
The case took place on January 1 in the city of Orlando, Florida, but was not released until Thursday by local police (14). The man and his wife – the mother of the beaten child – were arrested.
The boy and his 4-year-old half-sister, the couple’s daughter, are in state custody until authorities find family members able to care for both.
Flaviane is the manager of the Mme Potato restaurant and was working when the couple went there on the first evening of the year, accompanied by the two children.
The group walked into the restaurant and ordered the meal, but when the food arrived there were only dishes for the couple and the youngest child.
The Brazilian, who has lived in the United States for 14 years, then asked if all was well with the request. The stepfather only said that the child would eat at home later.
At this point, however, she noticed that the boy had a bruise on his forehead, between his eyebrows, which was visible even though he was wearing a mask, glasses and a hood.
Suspicious, Flaviane began to observe the child and noticed that she had a purple spot on her face. In addition, while traveling, bruises were also visible on the arms. “The maternal instinct cried out at that point,” she told Folha.
The Brazilian, who has two daughters, took a sheet of paper and wrote a note asking if everything was okay. She stood behind her parents, so that only the boy could see her, and raised the fortune sign. The child simply nodded, indicating that yes, everything was fine.
However, Flaviane continued to find the episode odd and made a new poster, this time asking if the boy needed help. When the child nodded again, the manager spoke to the owner of the restaurant, who is also Brazilian, and they decided to call the police.
“When I realized something was wrong I felt like I had to do something. I can’t let this boy get out of here the same way he came in,” he said.
“If she hadn’t called us, the abuse would continue to happen and soon he [o menino] he wouldn’t be here with us anymore, ”the officer in charge of the case, Erin Lawler, told Folha.
Stepfather Timothy Wilson II was arrested on day one. Police said investigations showed that he beat the child, including with a broomstick, and the boy was malnourished. She called the case torture and said the brothers showed relief at the time of their arrest.
The mother of the children, Kristen Swann, was arrested five days later for negligence because she knew of the assaults. The couple’s defense – who lost custody of the children – denies the charges. Police say the youngest girl was not beaten.
For the investigator, the Orlando episode is very rare, because usually only people who know the children do this type of reporting. “It’s important that anyone who sees a case like this doesn’t think twice and immediately call the police,” added Lawer, who, like many on social media, called out the Brazilian heroine.
“It was a mixture of feelings,” Flaviane said. “Of nervousness, worry, happiness for him [o padrasto] being arrested, out of curiosity to know how the child is doing. “