State social workers vetted a tip from someone concerned for Smith's safety and came to Smith's rescue, the Courier reported. He worked various jobs washing dishes, bussing tables, and cooking food.
In a lawsuit which Smith filed against the brothers in 2015 but dropped in favor of having the case pursued criminally, his attorneys told how he was often taken to the industrial freezer to be beaten. A message seeking comment from his attorney, Scott Bellamy, was not immediately returned early Thursday.
He also claims Edwards was also forced to work from the early morning to late at night and received minimal, if any, pay.
Edwards was officially charged with "attempt to establish peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude or human trafficking", and faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and will be required to pay restitution to Smith. Smith was often so exhausted from working that he would have to be carried home and "physically fed drink and food", documents alleged.
Smith was taken into the care of adult protective services and Edwards was charged with assault and battery. The manager allegedly threatened threats to "stomp" his throat as well as beat him "until people would not recognize him". Smith's attorneys described the conditions there as "sub-human", "deplorable" and "harmful to human health". On one occasion, Bobby allegedly whipped Smith with a belt buckle for not bringing food to the buffet fast enough.
"Plaintiff was heard crying like a child and yelling, 'No, Bobby, please!'" according to the suit, which accused the cafeteria's owner of knowing about the alleged abuse but doing nothing to stop it.
Caines has advocated for Smith, telling the TV channel that his treatment was "total abuse" and saying customers who "heard stuff" would ask waitresses, but they "were so scared of Bobby they wouldn't tell them then what it was".
At the time of the lawsuit, Smith's lawyers said: 'The conduct in this case is as troubling as anything I h ave seen in nearly 20 years of practicing law, attorney W. Mullins McLeod Jr. said.
Though the indictment remains sealed, numerous details surrounding Smith's alleged enslavement were revealed in a 2015 lawsuit against Edwards; the man's brother and restaurant owner, Ernest J. Edwards; and the establishment, The Washington Post reported. Bobby was charged with second-degree assault, which is now pending in court, according to The Post.
"I need him to go to jail, and I need to be there when he go", Smith told WMBF.
The attorney general notes that the indictment is "merely an accusation" and that Edwards is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
Smith told WMBF he was 12 years old when he started working at J&J Cafeteria, a squat brick building on a sleepy thoroughfare in Conway that serves Southern comfort food and traditional diner fare.