Bruce Cooper not happy with book about son's death

2:27 AM, Feb 27, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - There are a number of accounts of what happened that fateful weekend in the Gulf when four friends went deep sea fishing on February 28, 2009.

A year after the tragic accident, the lone survivor, Nick Schuyler, has written a book called, "Not Without Hope."

Nick Schuyler, Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith and Will Bleakely faced a major cold front coming across the Gulf as they were fishing that weekend.

Their boat would eventually capsize, and the men struggled to stay afloat.

One by one, they would succumb to the elements. Only Schuyler survived.

Bruce Cooper, Marquis' father, is not happy with some of the details coming out in Schuyler's new book. He says the facts are not all true.

"All anyone ever wanted to know is what happened.  And, when you don't know, or what the truth is, it's tough to reconcile," Bruce told us.

Reports would come out that Marquis simply gave up. Bruce Cooper says his son would never do that. His 26-year-old son, he says, would fight to the end to survive.

Schuyler writes in his book, "I let Marquis slide into the water and I told him I loved him another 5 or 6 times. I'll protect your family."

In an HBO Real Sports special, Schuyler told reporter Bernard Goldberg, "There was a point in the middle of the night that we were 10-15 feet away from the boat and the current is going every which way... fighting to keep touching... there's a good chance we may not make it thought the night."

Bruce Cooper says he just wants the truth.

Cooper admits, "I'll say this, the varying accounts as to what happened by Nick Schuyler made it difficult to reconcile the whole thing... the report he gave the U.S. Coast Guard was different from what he gave Florida Fish and Wildlife."

Schuyler did make a disclaimer in the beginning of the book. The former USF Football player wrote, "This is the way I remember it. If I get some things wrong, it is due to the frailty of my memory and the horror of what I experienced.  This is the best I can do after having three friends die in my arms."

The Cooper family says this is a tough time for them, one year later, as they try to heal while hearing about the contents of the book.

Bruce says his lowest point came when his wife tried to commit suicide.

Now, he just wants peace.

"[I] don't want to rock the boat, or stir the pot, but I'm just going to have to let him run with what he wants to run with," Bruce says.

But, he is worried that people will take some of what the book says is fact, when he claims, it isn't. "He was not my son's personal trainer [as he claims].  I'm not going speak for the Smith family, and he certainly was no babysitter for my granddaughter," Cooper says.

The last time Bruce spoke with Nick Schuyler was at Will Bleakely's funeral.  Marquis' father doesn't wish Nick any ill will, but wants the public to know the truth.

He says he knows his son never gave up. 

Melanie Brooks, 10 Connects

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