A 36-year-old Florida man has been convicted of abusing his stepson almost a year after a waitress managed to save the boy from his father by secretly getting help for him.

The case had made headlines last year in January when Flaviane Carvalho was working as a waitress at a restaurant called Mrs Potato. She was serving the family of the accused, Timothy Lee Wilson, when she noticed bruises on the 11-year-old child's face.

The boy had come to the restaurant with his father and other family members. He was the only one not eating at the table when Carvalho noticed the marks.

She soon realised what was happening and flashed him a card with a note asking if he needed help. The boy nodded yes, Carvalho then immediately sprung into action and called the police.

"I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows. Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So, I felt there was something really wrong," she had said during a press conference in 2021, per Fox35.

An investigation into the case revealed that the boy's stepfather used to punish him by starving and isolating him for days, sometimes hanging him upside down, and sometimes by making him do military-style exercises.

They also recovered multiple tools such as a bent metal pole, a wooden broom, a dolly cart, handcuffs, and ratchet straps that were used to tie and punish the child.

His stepfather has now been found guilty of two counts of false imprisonment of a child under 13 years of age, three counts of aggravated child abuse with a weapon, four counts of aggravated child abuse, and one count of child neglect. His sentence will be announced on August 19 this year.

The boy's mother, Kristen Swann, has also been arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect for failing to report the abuse and secure medical care for the boy.

Meanwhile, Carvalho's boss Rafaela Cabed has organised a fundraiser page on GoFundMe to "reward," her for what she did for the boy. It has surpassed the stated goal of $10,000 and has so far received $46,710.

Crime Scene
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON GETTY IMAGES/SCOTT OLSON