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Knaus Berry Farm owner Rachel Knaus Grafe beaten at her home, son arrested, officials say

Son of Knaus Berry Farm owner arrested in mom's beating
Son of Knaus Berry Farm owner arrested in mom's beating 02:40

MIAMI -- Rachel Knaus Grafe, owner of the world-famous Knaus Berry Farm, was brutally assaulted and nearly killed in her home Friday evening, and her son has been arrested, CBS Miami has learned.

Travis Grafe
Travis Grafe Miami-Dade Corrections Dept

A senior law enforcement source who was briefed on the incident said Travis Grafe, 40, allegedly beat his mother with a flashlight. After allegedly assaulting his mother, he then reportedly attacked his father, Herbert, the official said.

"He demanded money from them and then beat them both," the official said.

The incident occurred around 6 p.m. at the family's home in the 15700 block of SW 248th Street in the Redlands.

Knaus Berry Farm sign
A sign at Knaus Berry Farm posted Saturday. CBS 4

Rachel, 66, is reportedly in critical condition and had to be airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Herbert's injuries were less severe, according to the official, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

After allegedly assaulting his parents, Travis Grafe ran from the home located next to their farm and store. 

"He fled in a golf cart to a neighbor's residence, where he told the neighbor, `I just killed my mother,'" the law enforcement source said.

The neighbor called police who arrested Grafe without incident, the official said.

A review of Travis Grafe's criminal history suggests a troubled past and a history of traumatic brain injury.

A longtime family friend told CBS Miami that the traumatic brain injury stemmed from an ATV crash around 20 years ago.

In 2013, Travis Grafe was arrested on a series of charges including assault, burglary and possession of a fire bomb. 

Those charges were all ultimately dismissed when Grafe was found to be mentally incompetent. 

A friend of the family, who contacted CBS Miami, said Grafe had suffered the brain injury in an accident 20 years ago.

In 2015, according to court records, Rachel Knaus Grafe sought guardianship of her then 33-year-old son, claiming Travis was "totally incapacitated" because Travis "suffered and continues to suffer from traumatic brain injury."

Knaus Berry Farm (Source: Sayet)

 A judge agreed, finding Travis was incapacitated and placed him in the care of his mother.

In 2016, Rachel Knaus Grafe sued Miami Dade County, claiming her son, while he was in the county jail on March 14, 2014, "was attacked by another inmate who bit Mr. Grafe's lip off and further bit Mr. Grafe's face." 

She argued the county failed to protect her son. The case was settled last year for an undisclosed amount.

Travis Grafe now finds himself once again in the county jail. 

Grafe was booked into the jail around 11 a.m. Saturday on one count of premeditated attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery and attempted strongarm robbery.

Knaus Berry Farm is world famous for its cinnamon rolls and other items. 

A local institution, Knaus Berry Farms, was first opened 1959 by the Knaus family and has remained within the family for generations. Knaus Berry Farm is currently owned by Rachel Grafe, formerly Rachel Knaus, and her sister.

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