Florida Keys

What landed the fishing captain in the hospital with a spinal inury? It’s a mystery.

After suffering a spinal injury last weekend, a Marathon fishing captain is reportedly in a Miami hospital with limited mobility from the neck down.

Monroe County’s 911 dispatch got an emergency call just before 5 a.m. June 4 for Jeff Knapp, 55, who was found face down near a storage area near Discount Rock and Sand property, mile marker 49.5 bayside. Knapp’s roommate Jim Bourbon owns The Beckoning charter boat on which Knapp was a captain, and said he thinks his friend was attacked, perhaps with a baseball bat.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said the case is being treated as an accidental medical emergency.

“All we know is he was found on the ground,” Ramsay said. “We believe it to be an accidental situation until otherwise determined. We’re hopeful if someone knows something they can come forward and clarify.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office dispatch report, Knapp was found about 15 feet from the road, partly behind a large boulder. In the report, it says he told first responders he had “been there for hours” and thought he had a stroke, after which he was airlifted to Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami.

Ramsay confirmed Knapp had been out drinking last Saturday night and was dropped off at the Hurricane Bar and Grill, “heard to be very intoxicated when he showed up there.” Knapp left the Hurricane around 9:30 p.m. he said.

What happened between then and the time he was found remains unknown. Bourbon said fliers have been put up around town offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who may have information. He did not specify who set up the reward, but phone numbers on the flier are (305) 743-4531 or (305) 731-0718.

Ramsay said anyone with information can also call the Sheriff’s Office at (305) 289-2351.

Knapp is still in the intensive care unit but is doing better, Bourbon said.

“He’s getting some movement in his arms. I don’t know about his legs yet, but there has been positive improvement in the last couple days,” he said.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219