The shocking news that Rene Betancourt injured himself skateboarding -- instead of in a brutal beating, as he claimed -- came nearly two weeks after he was admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital with a fractured skull and blood clots in his head. His father, Rene Betancourt Sr., and Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes talked about the turn in the case.
The man who claimed he was the victim of a brutal beating in downtown Miami but really wasn't attacked still has no memory of the events, his family said Tuesday.
"We are confident that without everyone's support we would not have been able to get through this," said 22-year-old Rene Betancourt's family in an email statement. "Rene has still a long road to his recovery and still has no recollection of the events that went on that evening or of the fall that caused his injuries."
Initially, Betancourt was admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital with severe injuries he had said were the result of his being jumped by three black males, but police later said a surveillance video from a nearby office building showed him falling off his skateboard.
"We however, thanks to all of you we can now take comfort in knowing that Rene was not the victim of an attack as was originally suspected by the attending Doctors given the type of injuries and the initial questioning done by the highly professional work of the City of Miami Police Department," the family's statement said.
According to a Miami Police report of the incident, Betancourt had been attacked in the area of Northeast 3rd Street and Biscayne Boulevard just after midnight on July 7 as he was on his way to meet up with a group of skateboarders.
When doctors examined Betancourt, they found he had a fractured skull, fractured left orbital bone, laceration to his head and blood clots in his head, the report said.
Police say the surveillance video, taken from an office building near Northwest 12th Avenue and 14th Street, shows Betancourt skateboarding and taking a fall and then boarding the building's elevator.
Police said the incident was an accident and not a robbery or assault, and that Betancourt will not be charged with filing a false report.
Police said that because of the extent of the injuries, he never recalled what took place.
When Betancourt left the hospital, an NBC 6 reporter asked him, “Rene, what would you say to the guys who did this to you?”
“No comment,” he said, chuckling.
"On behalf of Rene Jesus and our family our most sincere thanks to all of you, we saw the best in people during this horrific chapter in our families history and are certain that without everyone prayers we would not have Rene to hold today," the family said.