Knaus Berry Farm family: Man uses flashlight to attack parents in Miami-Dade, police reports

Farm reports victim’s ‘slight improvement’ after son’s attack

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Domestic violence nearly cost The Knaus Berry Farm’s matriarch’s life.

Police officers found Rachel Knaus Grafe lying unconscious on the ground in a pool of her own blood and a large flashlight with blood stains near her on Friday at her home in rural south Miami-Dade County, according to a police report released on Monday.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel took Knaus Grafe — whose condition was critical after she suffered several injuries to her head and chest — to Jackson South Medical Center’s intensive care unit, according to police.

“We are overwhelmed with this communities (sic) kindness! We received encouraging words from Rachel’s doctor today. A slight improvement! It will be a long road to recovery but (we) are hopeful,” a Knaus Berry Farm representative wrote on Instagram Sunday.

Officers arrested her son Travis Grafe after a neighbor told police officers that his clothes were stained with blood when he confessed to using a flashlight to “kill” his mother on Friday at their home near the intersection of Coconut Palm Drive and Newton Road, according to the report.

A witness who is a lifelong family friend also told police officers that the 40-year-old man had also attacked his father, Herbert Grafe, after threatening to kill him if he didn’t give him money, according to the police report.

Herbert Grafe fell down unconscious after he suffered a contusion and a bruise to the left side of his temple, and he also required medical attention at Jackson South Medical Center, according to the police report.

The Knaus Berry Farm opened for business on Monday morning, after a business rep announced that a “family emergency” prompted the closure of the farm on Saturday.

Corrections officers have held Travis Grafe since 11:20 a.m., Saturday, at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center after the domestic violence incident, county records show.

Court records reveal Travis Grafe was troubled. He was arrested in 2013 on charges of bomb possession, burglary, criminal mischief, fleeing and eluding police, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, marijuana possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Travis Grafe suffered a traumatic brain injury that rendered him totally incapacitated and later prompted a judge to grant his mother guardianship in 2015, court records show. Prosecutors dropped the two 2013 criminal cases against him in 2014 and 2019.

For the attacks on Friday, Grafe is facing charges of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery on a person who is 65 or older, and attempted robbery.

He refused to appear in court for scheduled hearings on Sunday and Monday, asking again for the hearing to be rescheduled.

Local 10 News Futures Planner/Assignment Manager Kerry Weston contributed to this report.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.