MIAMI - Police are searching for the men who severely beat a 22-year-old man in downtown Miami this weekend, and they think it was a random attack.
Family members said Rene Betancourt, 22, went downtown to meet with a group of skateboarders he heard about on the Internet.
Three or four people attacked Betancourt, fracturing his skull, breaking his nose and knocking out some of his teeth, his family said. It is unclear whether the attackers were among the group of skateboarders or if they were a separate group.
Betancourt drove himself to Jackson Memorial Hospital but was so disoriented he could not get out of his car. He left a message on a friend's voicemail saying, "Yo, Sebs. I need you, man. I need you to come help me out. All right, bye. Please call me back."
Betancourt's family went to the police and eventually managed to get him to answer his cellphone, and he was taken inside for treatment. He had not made it out of his car for 12 hours.
Betancourt, a college student, was awake and aware Monday morning after undergoing surgery. Family members gave Local 10 a picture of Betancourt at the hospital. (Warning: Graphic)
Surgeons removed a blood clot the size of a fist and treated his various other injuries.
"He received several blows on the head from what we believe was a very strong, heavy object. He had so many cracks in his skull that the surgeon didn't even count," said Daniela Herdocia, Betancourt's sister. "What's haunting us is the barbaric type of attack that he was a victim of. Rene's a very peaceful guy, and really, all the blows were to the head. This was done on purpose. This was an intent to kill him."
Police said they consider the attack an assault and robbery because Betancourt's wallet was stolen.
"This was not a robbery; this was for fun. I mean, the blows to the head are so incredible," Herdocia said.
Investigators are looking for any surveillance video that may show the crime or the attackers.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).
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